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2011 NBA Draft Lottery Preview: Cavs Hold Second Best Odds, And a Little More Than Luck

The Cleveland Cavaliers have two lottery picks heading into the prime time NBA draft selection event on ESPN Tuesday night, and they have more than a fighting chance of landing the top overall pick in the draft.

Only a handful of times in the history of this process has the team with the best odds come away with the top overall pick in the draft, giving the Cavs more than a fighting chance to take the top slot in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Not only do the Cavs have the second best odds of winning the NBA Draft lottery, they also have the 8th best odds at 2.8 percent thanks to a mid-season trade with the Los Angeles Clippers. While that may seem like a long-shot to happen, don’t forget that just a couple of years ago, the Chicago Bulls held only a 1.7 percent chance of winning the lottery, and by some stroke of luck landed the top pick, and selected the youngest MVP in league history, Derrick Rose.

This is not a deep draft by any means, but there are definitely some talented players, and the Cavs must capitalize on both selections. I have said over and again that I feel the best two picks for the organization (unless they are selecting 1st and 2nd in the draft) would be Derrick Williams and Kemba Walker. Those guys really helped their respective teams turn it around in 2011 at the NCAA tournament, and they were two of the best players if not undoubtedly the two best players in the tournament overall.

There was one bit of somewhat breaking news that could definitely alter the way this draft goes. Hoopsworld reported over the weekend that the Minnesota Timberwolves were close to signing point guard Ricky Rubio. Nothing was set in stone or official, but it seemed like it was bound to happen. There is no doubt the Wolves need to move on from Jonny Flynn, who has been a massive disappointment, but if they lock up Ricky Rubio, I doubt that they would select Duke point guard Kyrie Irving, who has got to be one of the top candidates to be picked by the Cavs with whatever pick they wind up with.

One thing I continue to see in mock drafts across the web is the Cavs taking players from overseas. Now, I have no problems with overseas players, but are the Cavs looking for that type of player? Chad Ford’s first mock draft has the Cavs taking Derrick Williams and Jonas Valanciunas, a big man from Lithuania. For me, looking at this all from a distance, I would say the last thing the Cavs need with one of these two picks is a risky player. Those guys from Europe and beyond can be extremely talented, but you rarely see them work out as legitimate top ten talents, at least that is the way it seems in recent drafts.

The best thing for the Cavs to hope for is to find a stroke of luck with their later lottery pick, and hope both end up in the top five. That way, they can get two players who can come in and help them right away, two young players that can potentially turn around the franchise.

The Cavs’ future could be decided tonight via the NBA Draft lottery. They need to make sure they hit on both of these picks, and give the large fan base reason to be excited once again.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.