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Cavaliers GM says there’s no clear-cut No. 1 pick, and winning Draft Lottery won’t impact coaching search

May 20, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT

NEW YORK — The Cleveland Cavaliers were the winners of the NBA’s Draft Lottery for the second straight year, and the third time overall since LeBron James bolted in free agency in the summer of 2010.

“It was incredible,” Cavaliers GM David Griffin said. “When Cleveland didn’t pop up at nine, I knew obviously we’d moved up, and I had to gather myself for a second. But it was just a remarkable, remarkable feeling.”

The team had just a 1.7 percent chance of landing the top overall pick, and had the probabilities held to form, Cleveland would have had to settle for ninth. But good fortune smiled upon the Cavaliers once again, and while Griffin represented the team on stage at the ESPN Studios in Times Square this time instead of team owner Dan Gilbert and his son Nick, Griffin made sure to bring along one of the duo’s good luck charms.

“We talked about before, not having Nick here with us but having the bow tie,” Griffin said. “I didn’t wear it, because nobody else can swing Thor’s hammer. And I kind of felt like it was a good luck charm for us all along.”

Moving up eight picks to secure the top one in a very deep draft is certainly something to celebrate. But it won’t necessarily make Griffin’s job or the organization’s decision any easier, because of a lack of a consensus No. 1 overall pick — something Griffin believes is the case most seasons.

“I don’t think there’s a clear cut number one in most drafts,” Griffin said. “And I think people, when they say that, they have a really strong feeling for one player over another. But I don’t think it’s necessarily a consensus in most drafts.”

That means there isn’t a “best player available” strategy that the Cavaliers can realistically pursue. But it sounds like they’ll look at every possibility, in hopes of landing a player who can provide an immediate impact to the team’s winning chances.

“We’re going to try to get radically better much quicker,” Griffin said. ‘We 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 in [accomplishing] that. We’re very open-minded in what that means.”

At present, it means the Cavaliers will make that decision without a head coach.

After firing Mike Brown (again) following season one of a five-year deal he signed when the team rehired him last summer, Cleveland will need to get a coach in place that can help mesh whoever is drafted on June 26 with the young talent already in place. But Griffin doesn’t expect the fact that the team now owns the number one pick to affect his search.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “I think if anything, it certainly makes us a more attractive destination. But that’s a process that really is sort of in its infancy right now, and I don’t think of them as being correlated.”

Much like the decision on who to draft, Griffin is looking for the right fit at coach to help lead what’s been an arduous process to turn his team around.

“We’ve got very clear criteria for what we feel makes us better as a team,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of young talent — a lot of young talent that in some ways doesn’t fit terribly well together, and in some cases, has really helped each other grow. We just need to get the right mix. We need to get the right person to advance us the fastest, and we’re very open-minded to what that is.”

  1. mp4philly - May 20, 2014 at 10:08 PM

    These idiots might draft Johnny Manziel..

  2. balsagna - May 20, 2014 at 10:11 PM

    I’m so glad the Celtics and Lakers didn’t make the top 3. That makes me all warm and fuzzy.

    • 1historian - May 21, 2014 at 6:38 AM

      I’m glad you are so happy, and it is what it is. I am a Celtics’ fan and between now and June 26 will be very interesting and then free agency and we will soon see the truth of the old saying ‘organizations win championships’.

  3. nykfanwakemeupin2015 - May 20, 2014 at 10:13 PM

    Ridiculous. You should not be allowed to get three times in a row.

    • balsagna - May 20, 2014 at 10:15 PM

      These sorts of comments are what make this situation so hilarious.

      • nykfanwakemeupin2015 - May 20, 2014 at 10:21 PM

        The league desperately needs parity. Cleveland will not provide it.

      • blueintown - May 20, 2014 at 10:34 PM

        Not sure you know what parity is.

  4. chiadam - May 20, 2014 at 10:17 PM

    Hi….um, maybe you’ve heard of me?

    – Jabari Parker

  5. thekingdave - May 20, 2014 at 10:21 PM


    Except that whole part of it now being, ya know, “three times in a row”.

  6. jamesk2465 - May 20, 2014 at 10:25 PM

    They need to either draft Wiggins or Embid or trade the pick for Kevin Love.

  7. darrkkomens - May 20, 2014 at 10:27 PM

    The NBA just made The Cavaliers the most hated team in all sports and lost a bunch of fans.. The NBA sucks

    • balsagna - May 20, 2014 at 10:30 PM

      If you spend time hating Cleveland sports teams I think there might be something wrong there. If the NBA can still flourish after the 2006 NBA Finals, this won’t even be a blip on the radar.

    • asimonetti88 - May 20, 2014 at 10:55 PM

      There’s literally no reason to hate Cleveland. You just have to feel bad for them.

      • casualcommenter - May 20, 2014 at 11:26 PM

        Completely agreed. The only two fanbases who might “hate” Cleveland for getting the number one pick are the 76’ers, who intentionally tanked to get the number pick, and the Bucks, who unintentionally tanked as their free agent signings like Mayo turned out to be busts.

        Otherwise, why hate a small market team that still hasn’t recovered after losing a Hall of Fame player in free agency?

      • bhunter1995 - May 21, 2014 at 2:15 AM

        The only people who hate Cleveland teams are the people in Cleveland who are retiring from their careers and moving to Florida, who haven’t seen a championship since the first grade.

    • ranfan12 - May 20, 2014 at 11:25 PM

      Heat is still at the top.

    • 1historian - May 21, 2014 at 6:40 AM

      speak for yourself

  8. phillysports1 - May 20, 2014 at 10:32 PM

    As a sixers fan I’m hoping they don’t draft Parker OR wiggins … Ugh !

    • sportsfan18 - May 21, 2014 at 7:37 AM


      Why? Were the Sixers going to draft BOTH Parker and Wiggins at the same time, with the same pick?

      • 00maltliquor - May 21, 2014 at 12:10 PM

        No, he’s picking at #3 and he wants either one or the other available by the time it comes to draft (won’t happen, he’s gonna have to settle for Embiid or someone else).

        That or a more unlikely scenario is one of them slip badly since PHI has 2 top 10 picks.

    • 00maltliquor - May 21, 2014 at 12:05 PM

      @ Philly

      Sorry bro but both of them will be gone. CLE is hands down taking Wiggins as he is the best player AND fills their one major position need, and MIL is taking Parker and same thing for them as CLE, best player availible/position need.

      Soooo…the question is….y’all gonna take Embiid after you just got Noel last year? Are you guys gonna turn one into a PF? Or you guys gonna let Embiid slip to #4?

  9. nadoinspincity - May 20, 2014 at 10:50 PM

    He is a new GM, he did not pick Anthony Bennett with the number 1. He hasn’t had a chance to screw anything up yet.

    • showtime1911 - May 20, 2014 at 11:25 PM

      Good catch. These idioits need to fact check before they start writing.

      • 1historian - May 21, 2014 at 6:41 AM

        You need to spell check before writing

    • jeffkx - May 21, 2014 at 8:37 AM

      I’m one of the few people who actually think Bennett can be pretty good. Lots of factors (shoulder, no basketball all summer, sleep apnea) led Anthony to struggle mightily this past season. Don’t write him off just yet (although I admit it’s not looking good). Still think he can be a poor man’s Thad Young–not worth the #1 pick but not a dumpster fire either.

      • heat256 - May 21, 2014 at 10:03 AM

        Yeah, but when you’re the top pick your ceiling has to be higher than “poor man’s Thad Young”.

      • jeffkx - May 21, 2014 at 10:34 AM

        Not in last year’s draft. Weak draft means low ceilings. Every player had flaws and weaknesses.

      • nadoinspincity - May 21, 2014 at 6:59 PM

        I agree I was just pointing out an inaccuracy in the article. Right now Bennett looks like a total bust but then again lots of lottery picks looked like busts in their first years. Chauncey Billups was labeled a bust his first year but went on to multiple All Star appearance and a Finals MVP. Its really too early to tell if he is a total bust, especially when you factor in the fact that the injury before the season kept him out of shape all season long.

        I still think it was a dumb pick though. They picked Tristan Thompson(power forward) 2 years ago with the 4th pick and then to use their 1st pick on another power forward; that’s just bad drafting. They needed a center or small forward last year and got neither.

    • nolanwiffle - May 21, 2014 at 8:54 AM

      You need to check for proper punctuation.

  10. Gordon - May 20, 2014 at 11:11 PM

    Cleveland will figure out a way to screw this up.

  11. pascalswager42 - May 20, 2014 at 11:24 PM

    I’m you’re typical Cleveland fan. Born and raised, moved to a new region of the US and still love the Tribe, Browns, Cavs and Buckeyes.

    As the saying goes: tons of people are from Cleveland, not many live there.

    I mention this because where I live now, everyone loves to hate Cleveland, especially their sports teams.

    Why? What has that city or it’s sports franchises ever done to earn your wrath and vitriol?

    The city hasn’t won a championship since 1964. That’s 50 years since our last title at the onset of the MLB season in 2014-which is starting just great for CLE. Fifty years!!! Cleveland fans are acutely aware of this fact.

    So, if we snag a 1.7% chance at #1 and 3 of the last 4 with the Cavs? Deal with it, NBA.

    What have the Cavs, and CLE, ever done with such fortune? Sadly, nothing.

    Until that changes, chill. As a CLE fan I (delusion) believe one team will in my lifetime.

    But seriously, chill conspiracy theorists.

    • fanofthegame79 - May 21, 2014 at 12:19 AM

      Well put.

    • 1historian - May 21, 2014 at 6:46 AM

      You’ve got the #1, now deal with it.

      Not meant sarcastically – I feel for you and your fellow fans.

      I am a New Englander. Right now we are spoiled, which means we are obnoxious and arrogant.

      Since 2001 we have won 8 world championships

      • pascalswager42 - May 21, 2014 at 10:22 AM

        I completely agree that #1 is more a burden than a blessing, especially considering the context of the Cavs’ failed ’13 draft and overall organizational instability since the departure of one LeBron James.

        It frustrates CLE fans to no end the ineptitude of our owners and their staffs to not capitalize on gift draft picks, multiple #1’s, diamond-in-the-rough talents found, etc.

        Historian – a little joke, but when aren’t New Englander’s spoiled, obnoxious and arrogant? LOL. Midwest sensibility is a myth, too.


  12. sasquash20 - May 20, 2014 at 11:26 PM

    Embiid should be the pick if his back checks out.

  13. phillysports1 - May 20, 2014 at 11:35 PM

    Na we don’t hate Cleveland. I think we rather see any other team securing the top pick besides BOSTON.

  14. peopletrains - May 21, 2014 at 12:11 AM

    The lottery system blows.

  15. revren10 - May 21, 2014 at 12:15 AM

    Looks like the NBA is trying to get lebron to go back to Cleveland top pick three outta four years.

    • spursareold - May 21, 2014 at 10:13 AM

      If he’s smart he will, and not tie his future to a guy with one knee and a pure sidekick.

  16. bostonfrogs - May 21, 2014 at 12:26 AM

    Cool, neat-o. That mild enough for ya, mods?

  17. mtheparrothead - May 21, 2014 at 6:28 AM

    No, people hate Cleveland because despite the fact they haven’t won in forever, they act like they have every year.

    Oh and the buckeyes.

    • pascalswager42 - May 21, 2014 at 10:28 AM

      False. It’s called HOPE. It’s all Cleveland has.

      True OSU fans hate the idiots who troll about “THE” ohio state university and make it out to be some fantasyland of greatness.

      What makes OSU great is it is a fantastic academic institution and is very well balanced in competition in all athletic endeavors, male and female. FB and BB get all the attention, but OSU golf, softball, gymnastics, baseball, etc are all top-notch in the country.

  18. jason9696 - May 21, 2014 at 8:16 AM

    This kind of reminds me of the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL. They’ve had the first overall pick in something like 3 of the last 4 years. And yet they still suck year after year after year.

  19. mdpgc - May 21, 2014 at 9:52 AM

    How is that the Cavs get the first pick every year…things that make you go ummmmmmmmm!

  20. phillysports1 - May 21, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    Dude how are you so sure Cleveland or Milwaukee is not taking Embidd ? Are you forgetting both teams are in need of a true big man ? Unless Milwaukee still got any hopes on Larry. Lol

  21. phillysports1 - May 21, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    I’m just saying possible scenarios. Your acting like you know everyone in Cleveland’s front office. Majority of the sources out there are saying Cavs can take J.E with the first pick.

  22. phillysports1 - May 21, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    Embiid *

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