The Cleveland Cavaliers haven’t had much success on the court since LeBron James left for the Miami Heat, but they’ve sure been lucky in the draft lottery. On Tuesday night, the Cavs won the first pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. It’s the second time in three years that the club has won the lottery.
Following a 24-58 season, Cleveland had the third-best odds of getting the No.1 selection. A 15.6 percent chance, however, proved to be enough to beat out the Orlando Magic, who led all clubs with a 25 percent shot of getting the top pick. Orlando came in at No.2, while the Washington Wizards were awarded the third pick in the first round.
There has been some debate about which player will go first overall on June 27. The lottery results, though, seem to indicate that Nerlens Noel will be taken atop the draft. Noel was considered by many to be the best high school player in the country when he committed to Kentucky, and the center fits in well with the Cavaliers roster. In the past two years, they spent top four draft picks on point guard Kyrie Irving, shooting guard Dion Waiters and power forward Tristan Thompson.
Since the college basketball season ended, the Kentucky freshman and Ben McLemore of Kansas have been viewed by experts as the two most likely players to compete for the top spot. If Cleveland goes with Noel, McLemore is the leading candidate to go to the Magic at No.2. Orlando desperately needs a scorer, and the 6’5 guard proved to be a dynamic offensive player in his one year with the Jayhawks. He averaged 15.9 points per game, while making 42 percent of his three-pointers.
Otto Porter is also considered by many to be a potential star in the pros. He may more NBA-ready than Noel and McLemore, having played two years at Georgetown. His ability to shoot from the outside, rebound and defend will make him an attractive option at the top of the draft. There’s a good chance he won’t last passed Washington at No.3
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Below is a mock draft for all the lottery teams. Of the top 14 selections, the Oklahoma City Thunder are the only club that made the playoffs in 2013.
1) Cleveland Cavaliers, C, Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
2) Orlando Magic, SG, Ben McLemore, Kansas
3) Washington Wizards, SF, Otto Porter, Georgetown
4) Charlotte Bobcats, SG, Victor Oladipo, Indiana
5) Phoenix Suns, PF, Anthony Bennett, UNLV
6) New Orleans Pelicans, C, Alex Len, Maryland
7) Sacramento Kings, PG, Trey Burke, Michigan
8) Detroit Pistons, SG, C.J. McCollum, Lehigh
9) Minnesota Timberwolves, SF, Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
10) Portland Trailblazers, PF, Dario Saric, Croatia
11) Philadelphia 76ers, C, Cody Zeller, Indiana
12) Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto Raptors), C, Rudy Gobert, France
13) Dallas Mavericks, PG, Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse
14) Utah Jazz, PG, Dennis Schroeder, Germany