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Inside the NBA Draft Lottery

by Kevin Kelly

Kevin Kelly | WFUV Sports

Sterling questions only take some luster off NBA Lottery

Audio from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Cleveland Cavaliers GM David Griffin at the end of the article.

After all of the conspiracy theorists calm down, all of the outrage over the system subsides, and all of the laughter caused by the absurdity of the results ceases, we're still left with a simple list.

So yes, once again, the Cleveland Cavaliers have won the lottery and gotten the top spot. The Cavs will now have had the top pick three out of the last four years. For Cleveland fans like our own Mike Watts, that's wonderful. For everyone else, not so much.

The reactions at the Draft Lottery were hilarious. 

As soon as it was clear that Cleveland had jumped into the top three, what I heard was mostly things like "Seriously?" and "Again?" sprinkled in with some "Oh my God, give me a break." Then after the commercial break when everyone finally saw that the Cavs had indeed snagged the top pick, it was a bit more subdued. A simple "wow" was the most common reaction. 

Cleveland once again has a chance to speed up its rebuilding process because of lottery results. The system just seems to love them. Even with a 1.7% chance of grabbing the #1 pick, they still managed to walk away with it. Now they have their choice of the whole lot in what many consider the deepest draft in a long time.

However, reports that came out soon after the lottery suggested that the Cavs might try to trade their pick for a proven player in the league. Cavaliers GM David Griffin said a few things that made it sound like a trade was a very real possibility.

"We're gonna be open-minded to everything," Griffin said. "We've got very clear criteria for what we feel makes us better as a team. We've got a lot of young talent, a lot of young talent that in some cases doesn't fit terribly well together and then in some cases has really helped each other grow. So we just need to get the right mix, the right person to advance us the quickest, the fastest. As I said, we're very open minded to what that is."

Just a quick note, that was a particularly interesting quote because when he said, "a lot of young talent that doesn't fit terribly well together," it sounded like he was alluding to the feud/rift between Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters.

"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 that."

Griffin also made it seem like at least one trade is inevitable with another thing he repeated.

"There is no such thing as an untouchable," Griffin said. "I'd trade me if it made the Cavaliers better."

Even with such a crazy result, Dr J. stole the night with his reaction to seeing Philadelphia pop up on the board at number ten. Erving seemingly had no clue that the Sixers had acquired pick number ten from New Orleans in a trade last year and still had their own pick higher in the order. He clearly thought Philly had dropped all the way to ten somehow and was not happy to say the least.

Adam Silver spoke to the media beforehand and most of the questions were about Donald Sterling and the Los Angeles Clippers rather than the actual lottery itself. 

Finally, after the barrage of Sterling questions, in the second to last question Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg asked Silver to express his feelings on being asked so many questions about Sterling instead of the Lottery.

"What are the right words to describe your feelings that you're getting all questions about Donald Sterling and not why we're here or the NBA playoffs?" Soshnick asked. 

"It's a great question, Scott, and it's hard for me to put in words sometimes…" he began. 

"Especially as I said earlier that we're coming off some of the best playoffs certainly in my memory. Your question makes me think of Kevin Durant's MVP speech… I remember at one point, Kevin Durant says, really in addressing his mother, who was sitting in the audience… I'm paraphrasing I think, but he said something like, 'Mom, we weren't supposed to be here. The deck was stacked against us…'" 

"I think Kevin Durant, as our Most Valuable Player, embodies what this league is all about…" he said and then paused for a few seconds. "… And frankly Mr. Sterling doesn't."


Cavaliers GM David Griffin Cavaliers GM David Griffin on organizational urgency Cavaliers GM David Griffin on a possible trade NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on Kevin Durant's MVP & Donald Sterling