Cavs' GM David Griffin stood alongside Philadelphia 76ers legend Julius Irving and new internet sensation Mallory Edens, waiting to hear who among them would secure for their team the coveted number one pick in the 2014 NBA draft.
Griffin's eyes were roughly level with Dr. J's nipples, but the new GM stared straight and humorlessly ahead, Nick Gilbert's bow tie tucked away on his person.
As you've no doubt heard, the Cavs snagged the top pick. The odds of that happening were 1.7 percent.
Just got done w/ a speech &they told me we won when I sat down.I said "that's not a funny joke".It's true? I am speechless.I love Cleveland!
— Dan Gilbert (@cavsdan) May 21, 2014
Though the sentiment among Cleveland sports fans is part elation, part surprise and part embarrassment — can success at a draft lottery really even be deemed a success? — consensus among sports writers is that this is a really shitty situation, and indicative of a broken lottery system.
Mary Schmitt Boyer, who attended Tuesday night's lottery proceedings, wrote that the grumblings among rival GMs were somewhat less than polite. There is a feeling that a team as poorly managed as the Cavaliers don't deserve all these assets to squander.
BREAKING: Yet another first overall pick's career will be ruined by the Cavaliers.
— NOT NBA Tonight (@NOTNBATonight) May 21, 2014
The Cavs certainly earned low marks in Bill Simmons karma rankings, published prior to yesterday's lottery:
"I can’t decide what makes them more ineligible for karma," wrote Simmons on Grantland, the sports and culture website of which he is purveyor and czar. "Would you go with “two no. 1 overall picks and two other top-four picks just in the past three years, but they batted 25 percent,” or would you go with “rehired the same shaky coach they already fired, gave him a five-year deal, then fired him again after Year 1”?
Good points. Can't forget, though, that the number one pick which brought Kyrie Irving to Cleveland would have been the Los Angeles Clippers', if they hadn't packaged the beard, paunch and bloated salary of Baron Davis and an unprotected first rounder for Mo Williams, in what is still regarded by the sports punditry as one of the worst trades in the recent history of professional basketball.
Anthony Bennett was an unqualified disaster, but his draft class was remedial across the board — Otto Porter, anyone? — and he may yet develop after his current medical woes:
This has to be top 5 worst surgeries of life ...
— Anthony Bennett (@AnthonyBennett) May 20, 2014
But it is what it is, and GM David Griffin is committed to getting "radically better" in a very short period of time. Worth noting that that was last year's game plan as well. Except this year's draft is Marianas-Trenchianly deeper than last year's — Anthony Bennett, were he among the current crop, would presumably fall within the 9-11 range.
Three studs are atop everyone's draft boards. Kansas Center Joel Embiid (described as a seven-foot Serge Ibaka), Kansas wing Andrew Wiggins (another Canadian!) and Duke's athletic forward Jabari Parker are virtual locks for professional success. David Griffin really can't go wrong with any of them, though debate will surely persist over the course of the next six weeks about the comparative liabilities they each represent.
Griffin has also indicated that he would "absolutely" trade the pick, provided it made the team better. It's unlikely to expect a superstar caliber player on the order of Kevin Love to sign a long-term contract with Cleveland, given the organizational clusterfuck and on-court schizophrenia, but look for Griffin to swing for the fences with this new, improbable ammo.