December 19, 2014

Medina
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Cavs land No. 4 pick in draft lottery

CLEVELAND — Nick Gilbert’s luck ran out Wednesday night at the NBA Draft Lottery.

The 15-year-old son of Cavs owner Dan Gilbert could not duplicate his 2011 success while representing the organization on stage in New York City, as Cleveland wound up with the fourth selection in the June 28 NBA Draft, one spot lower than it was slated to pick going into the night.

“Still feel very good about#4 pick,” Dan Gilbert posted on his Twitter account. “We are getting a great player there and good additions w/our other 3 picks. I believe. Proud of @cavsnick.”

Taking a philosophical approach, Cavs general manager Chris Grant concurred during a press conference at Quicken Loans Arena.

“It’s another critical step in our process,” Grant said. “I feel great about where we are. We’re looking forward to getting a lot of these young guys in here (for workouts) and adding another good young player to our roster.”

Ironically, the Cavs won a coin flip with New Orleans after the teams finished with identical 21-45 records, which tied for the third worst in the league. Cleveland had 138 chances in 1,000 of landing the No. 1 pick, third most in the lottery, while the Hornets were fourth with 137.

New Orleans, which was run by the league last season but is now led by Saints owner Tom Benson, ended up winning the lottery, the first time a team with the fourth-best odds emerged with the top pick. The Hornets are expected to take 6-foot-10, 220-pound big man Anthony Davis, who led Kentucky to the national championship as a freshman.

“Those are things you can’t control,” Grant said of winning the coin flip but having the Hornets win the lottery.

Though the Cavs didn’t land the No. 1 pick like they did last year in Kyrie Irving, they still should get at least one good player in what is considered a fairly deep and talented draft.

Cleveland also owns the No. 24 pick in the first round through a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers and the third and fourth picks in the second round, which will be 33 and 34 overall.

“That’s a great question,” Grant said when asked how good the draft was. “I don’t know that we know the answer yet. Certainly, some of the players on the high end have got a chance to be pretty good. It’s a pretty deep draft. I’m excited about 24, 33 and 34.”

Kentucky’s Davis was considered the consensus No. 1 pick regardless of who won the lottery, with college teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, a 6-7, 232-pound small forward, regarded as the second-best player available by many scouts.

The next crop of players includes guys like Florida guard Bradley Beal (6-3, 205), Connecticut center Andre Drummond (6-10, 251) and Kansas power forward Thomas Robinson (6-9, 237).

Beal is probably the best fit for the Cavs, who are desperate for an athletic shooting guard or small forward who can score.

If Beal is off the board at No. 4, Cleveland could go big or turn to a player like North Carolina small forward Harrison Barnes (6-8, 223) or Connecticut shooting guard Jeremy Lamb (6-5, 185).

“It’s a good day,” Grant said. “We feel good about it. We’re excited about the process.”

A year ago, the Cavs won the lottery with a 2.8 percent chance they acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers and selected Duke’s Irving, who went on to become NBA Rookie of the Year.

The Cavs had a 19.9 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick with their own choice last year, but ended up falling to No. 4, where they selected forward Tristan Thompson, who earned second-team All-Rookie honors.

The Cavs attempted to duplicate as much as they could from last year, as Dan Gilbert, Nick Gilbert, Browns players Joe Haden and Joshua Cribbs and former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar again made the trip to New York.

Irving, on hand as the likely No. 1 pick last year, was also in Cleveland’s traveling party this year, with virtually all members donning Nick Gilbert’s trademark bow tie and horn-rimmed glasses.

“Got #4 and 4 of the top 34 picks…Can’t wait to see who we pick,” Nick Gilbert posted on his Twitter account. “Who do you think it will be?”

Notes

  • Charlotte, which had a league-high 25 percent chance of winning the lottery after recording the lowest winning percentage in NBA history (.106, 7-59), wound up with the second pick, while Washington, which had the second-best odds, fell to third.
  • Picks five through 14 went exactly according to form.

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com.