There hasn’t been too much to cheer for or feel good about for fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cleveland Indians are doing their best to make the city forget about the Cavs’ precipitous decline since The Decision. But when it comes to their NBA team, it’s been a year full of agony, disappointment and futility.
Finally on Tuesday night during halftime of Game 1 in the Western Conference Finals series, Cavs fans had something to cheer about as Cleveland won the 2011 NBA Draft Lottery, with the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft as the reward. Thanks to a mid-season trade with the Los Angeles Clippers, Cleveland won the rights to the top overall selection, which most everyone agrees will be used on either Kylie Irving or Derrick Williams. The Cavaliers will also select at No. 4, the slot they landed with their lottery assignment.
Two picks in the top five. Great stuff, and just what the Dr. ordered following the rapid demise of the squad in the post-LeBron James era. Unfortunately, there is no LeBron type talent in this year’s draft. Or anything close to it. But Dan Gilbert will still be adding two undeniably talented and much-needed prospects in this year’s Draft, which could in turn help the team turn their fortunes around sooner rather than later.
On Wednesday, Gilbert joined WKNR in Cleveland to talk about winning the Lottery and what’s next for the organization as they try to assess how to best cash in on the opportunity in this summer’s Draft.
If he had a good feeling going into the draft:
“My gut said we had a good chance on the Cavs pick to come out one especially since it hadn’t come out one in 13 years in the two slot. If you look at the two slot with a 20 percent chance you’re supposed to come out one every five years theoretically so I said we’re due. I had no idea it was the Clippers pick. Somebody, when I got up there on the stage right after it happened, somebody said it was the Clippers pick and I thought they were just messing with me or bs’ing me then 20 minutes later someone said no really it was the Clippers pick. I mean that’s just crazy stuff, but we will take it right?”
How big getting the first pick is for the Cavs:
“Absolutely huge because I think contrary to most public opinion here this draft particularly the high end, according to our guys, and our guys go deep, they do all kinds of intelligence on the player not just from a skill standpoint, but their life – they talk to their kindergarten teachers, their aunts and uncles, their friends and enemies, and everyone in between, and they just really love the character of some of these top guys. Who they are and what they represent and what they are as people and human beings. As we all know, because we have seen both ends of it in this town for many years, the good and the bad, I think character and integrity wins out in the end holding all the other stuff equal. To get a couple of picks like this in the top four, including number one, it’s going to be a seminal event that’s going to change the franchise for years to come. Combining that with the trade exception that we’ve got still, potential trade opportunities, free agency, and some guys coming back, this thing can turn around quicker than people think.”
Whether or not the front office has a good idea of who they are going to take at number one:
“I think they have a pretty good idea of who they like and who they favor in the draft overall. Now that the owners know they are going to huddle deep. I don’t think there’s a 100 percent consensus, but I think there’s a pretty good feeling of who they like at one. I wish I could comment on that but they would kill me before I walked in the office.”