Cavs Score Third No. 1 Pick in Four Years as Opinions Differ at Top of Loaded Draft | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Friday / June 21.
  • Cavs Score Third No. 1 Pick in Four Years as Opinions Differ at Top of Loaded Draft

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    Wiggins and EmbiidBy JOSH NEWMAN
    Special to ZAGSBLOG

    NEW YORK – The post-LeBron James era for the Cleveland Cavaliers has produced zero playoff appearances and no more than 33 wins in a non-lockout season since he took his talents to South Beach after the 2009-10 season.

    From that rubble has come two No. 1 overall picks, which were used on Kyrie Irving and Anthony Bennett, and two No. 4 overall picks, which were used to select Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson.

    Now, this rebuild in Cleveland is shockingly going to see yet another No. 1 pick.

    The ping-pong balls fell the Cavaliers’ way for the third time in four years on Tuesday evening when they were awarded the first overall pick at the NBA Draft Lottery, held at Best Buy Theatre in Times Square. The Cavs entered the evening slotted at No. 9 and had just a 1.7 percent chance of getting the top pick for the June 26 NBA Draft.

    “We said when we lost a player a number of years back that it was gonna take some time and quite frankly, it’s taken a little bit longer than we’d like, but we’ve been patient, we’ve done the right things,” Cavs Vice Chairman Jeff Cohen said in reference to James. “We appreciate how patient the fans and the city of Cleveland have been with us and I think now is the time we’re going to reap the rewards of our patience.”

    After entering the Draft Lottery with the best odds of landing the No. 1 pick, the Milwaukee Bucks will have the No. 2 pick, while the Philadelphia 76ers will select at No. 3. The Sixers also own the No. 10 pick, which they acquired on draft night last year from the New Orleans Pelicans as part of a deal that sent Jrue Holiday to New Orleans in exchange for the draft rights to Nerlens Noel. The Sixers are the only team with two Lottery picks.

    Attention will now turn to who the Cavaliers will select. has 6-foot-8 Kansas freshman and Canadian sensation Andrew Wiggins at No. 1 overall. Duke freshman Jabari Parker is No. 2 to the Bucks, while 7-foot Jayhawks freshman Joel Embiid is third to the Sixers.

    There are strong arguments to select any of the three first overall and, right now, there doesn’t seem to be a clear answer on what to do.

    “I like Wiggins, but Embiid is a young, really talented big and Parker is smart and really understands how to play,” one veteran NBA scout told after the ESPN telecast finished. “They’re all good choices, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I think Griff (new Cavs General Manager David Griffin) will make a good choice for the Cavs.”

    This will be the first time Griffin will oversee a draft. He took over as acting GM after Chris Grant, who drafted Irving and Bennett, was fired in February. The ‘acting’ tag was removed on May 12 and now, the future direction of the franchise belongs to Griffin. His first major decision will be what to do now that the franchise is on the clock.

    “I don’t think there’s a clear-cut No. 1 for most of us,” Griffin said. “I think when people say that, they have a really strong feeling for one player over another, but I don’t think it’s a consensus. We’re very open-minded and we’re going to look to get radically-better much quicker.”

    “I really feel like there’s a sense of urgency about improving our team as a whole and we’re going to look for the right fit.”

    Follow Josh Newman on Twitter

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