Quite a few storylines unfolded on Tuesday night in Secaucus, N.J., but none were bigger than the Cavaliers winning two of the top four overall picks behind the fortuitous, and confident, 14-year-old Nick Gilbert, son of Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and team representative for the night.
Dressed in a mini-tuxedo with a Cavaliers themed bow-tie and glasses the size of goggles, Nick Gilbert — born with Neurofibromatosis (NF) — somehow managed to land his father’s team the No. 1 and No. 4 pick in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft. When asked how he felt about his father referring to him as “his own personal hero,” Gilbert nonchalantly stated, “What’s not to like?” And thus, the 2011-12 Cleveland Cavaliers’ season slogan was born, along with two opportunities to vastly improve the franchise should the picks be executed properly.
Not everyone was enamored by the “feel good” story that was Gilbert and the Cavaliers’ landing two of the first four picks in the draft. Draft pick-botcher extraordinaire, and current Timberwolves general manager David Kahn, who’s team had the best chance of landing the No.1 overall pick statistically at 25 percent, expressed his frustration afterward saying, “This league has a habit, and I am just going to say habit, of producing some pretty incredible story lines.”
… Right Kahn, Stern simply couldn’t resist the lovable, baby-eyed David Gilbert and decided he’d totally alter the history of a franchise by giving it two top four picks just to create a storyline for the 30-minute (which was really about 10 minutes of actual footage) shooting of the Draft Lottery…
Why Kahn, out of all people, is complaining is somewhat of a mystery. Even if the Timberwolves did land the first pick in the draft, he likely would have figured out a way mess it up by drafting someone other than Kyrie Irving — since, you know, he already has a point guard on the way in Rubio (even though it’s been two years since he was drafted fifth overall and still has shown no inclination to ever want to play for the Timberwolves). Knowing Kahn, there’s a good chance he would have tried to justify drafting Jonas Valanciunas No. 1 overall on the basis that two white 7-footers playing next to one another (the other being Darko Milicic, who according to Kahn is the best passing big man since Vlade Divac) in the Kurt Rambis-based Triangle Offense would create such a passing flurry that the other team would pass out due to vertigo, leading to effortless lay ups for the Wolves.
Anyways… it seems everybody else except for David Kahn felt happy for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night. After a tumultuous season that saw Lebron James depart for Miami, resulting in the worst team-record since 2002-03 and an NBA record 26-game losing streak, this was the exactly what the doctor ordered for the Cavaliers and it’s fan-base. And nothing else, at least this will help out Dan Gilbert in the race to win a title before “the self-titled former ‘King’ wins one,” which he just-so-happened to “self proclaim” roughly one year ago.
To get a better understanding of what exactly went through my mind during the Draft Lottery, here’s my notes from the night in chronological order:
5:49 I love listening to Magic Johnson because he makes the most obvious aspects of the game sound so compelling. You can’t help but be mesmerized because he’s Magic — no pun intended — but at the same time I almost always feel the urge to say, “Thank you Captain Obvious” after every single exchange. Typical Magic analysis sounds something like, “You see, when there are two bigs — who are tall, BIG guys — going up for a rebound, more often than not the guy who jumps the highest or has the longest arms will get it! And this allows for whichever team that gets the rebound to have an advantage in the rebounding part of the game.” Yes Magic… we know.
5:52 Haven’t seen “The Next Round” until tonight, although I can’t really say it’s any different than, “The 30-minute Advertisement by Jim Beam That Somehow Incorporates Sports Into the Content.” The show features Scoop Jackson, Bill Simmons (who this column is somewhat structured after) and Adam Carolla apparently kickin’ back a few Jim Beam infused mixed drinks while they talk about the hottest sports topics of the moment. It was going alright until Carolla had to confirm with the guys how many rings Kobe has, and yet petitioned his unrivaled Laker fandom to the audience by saying his middle name should be “Lakers.” Honestly, if you can’t tell me how many rings Kobe has within a second of being woken up from a deep, intoxicated sleep, then you’re just like 99.9 percent of all Laker “fans” out there, aka, you’re not a fan.
5:56 Being a relatively young Nuggets fan, I’ve never had to huddle around the TV on Draft Lottery Night, hoping that the pingpong balls align in our favor. Although this is definitely a good thing, I gotta say, it would be exciting in a way. Hopefully management can figure out some way to swing a deal for a first-round picks that ends up being near the top of the lottery while still remaining competitive, a la the Detriot Pistons in 2003.
6:08 Switched over to Jeopardy! during a commercial break to catch one of the answers to a question being, “What is the McRibb?” Sign of the Apocalypse?
6:13 Who needs to win the lottery the most? I say Kings. It would help bring some publicity to the franchise and hopefully aide in keeping it located in Sac-Town (their nickname, not mine).
6:28 I’m really interested in seeing how the Jazz utilizes its picks. (Remember, if we had traded for Favors that No. 3 overall would be ours right now. Just saying.)
6:31 John Barry just referred to Dirk Nowitzki as, “The Germinator.” I’ll leave it at that.
6:40 Uh oh. New Chopped is on tonight; the one and only show I will even consider missing the Playoffs to watch. Also, just scrolling through the channels I’ve noticed TLC is doing its self-enforced monthly block of shows about people that are too fat to do anything but remain in one spot and, you guessed it… eat. Show titles include “Half Ton Man” and “600 Pound Mom,” who was also featured on “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant” … Just kidding. But seriously, it’s possible.
6:46 Wow! Cleveland and Utah both have a chance at the No. 1 overall pick and in both cases this is due to draft picks they recieved for one of their players in a trade. The Cavs received its first-rounder from the Clippers in the Baron Davis deal and Utah received its pick from the Nets in the Deron Williams blockbuster trade, and now each have a shot to get the No. 1 pick in the draft. Amazing. (On a side note, in his most recent podcast Bill Simmons jokingly suggested how funny it would be if the Cavs ended up winning the Lottery from the Clippers pick. As it turns out, that’s exactly what ended up happening.)
6:52 Unbelievable, Cavs win the Lottery. Whatever person in the Clippers camp came up with the idea of trading away its No. 1 selection this year should be fired. Seriously, you’re the Clippers and you’re gonna trade away your No. 1 draft pick just so you can dump Baron Davis? What the hell were you thinking?!? How cheap can you possibly be?!? We should be looking at a Kyrie Irving-to-Blake Griffin connection for years and instead we’ll likely be stuck with whatever Mo Williams can muster up before the next mediocre point guard replaces him a few years down the road, thus repeating the process. Ugh, this is the type of poor management that just makes me sick.
6:54 Alright, now that it’s all said and done, what would you rather have: the No. 3 pick in this year’s draft, Derrick Favors and the Warriors first rounder next year, or the players we got from New York? It’s close, but as far as our needs go, I think the New York trade suited us best. At No. 3 the Jazz are likely going point guard, and we already have Ty here. Outside of that position, I don’t see any players that I can immediately look at and say I like more than Gallinari, Chandler and Moz, who could potentially be on our team for years. If Williams drops and Favors turns out to be a beast, it might be a different story, but for now I think we have to be thrilled with how things turned out.