If the Cleveland Cavaliers can’t turn themselves into playoff contenders soon, they should fire their entire scouting staff. For the third time in four years, the Cavs won last night’s draft lottery, and will select first overall on June 26. Despite just a 1.7% chance of winning, the Cavs, the luckiest franchise in sports, jumped over the 25% likelihood Milwaukee Bucks. The Philadelphia 76ers select third, and the Orlando Magic fourth.
This is a Toronto Raptors site, not an all-NBA one, so I survey the lottery results with an eye to figuring out whether they have any impact on our team. I can’t see a whole lot in either direction. The Boston Celtics, our Atlantic Division rivals, look to improve nicely with picks 6 & 17. The deep-pocketed squads in NYC don’t have a first-rounder (ha!), and the Los Angeles Lakers won’t likely get back into contention with the #7 selection. The most puzzling team I know of, the Detroit Pistons, lost their first-rounder for complicated reasons to the Charlotte
Bobcats Hornets. If their #9 pick turns out to be an impact player, Charlotte will be a dark-horse contender next season.
Our draft position, #20, did not change of course, as the Raps weren’t in the lottery (yay!). Now that the order is settled, watch for the fireworks to begin. I think this off-season will be an active one. There are an unusually high number of teams in turmoil, and we can add the Memphis Grizzlies to the list after they shocked the league by firing several top executives. Let’s see….Golden State just poached Steve Kerr from under the Knicks’ nose and named him as coach, so the Knicks (and Cavs) don’t have a coach, the Pistons have replaced long-serving GM Joe Dumars with Stan Van Gundy, the Bucks have new owners, the Clippers are grumbling about how they lost their playoff round and wondering whether Chris Paul is truly a championship-grade point guard, the Lakers are groaning under the weight of huge monies still owing to Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, who may never be healthy again – I’ve probably missed about 5 teams.
By contrast, the Raptors look like an oasis of sanity. Is Toronto finally a destination of choice?