Thursday, May 31, 2012

It's an NBA Lottery Conspiracy! (Just not the right one)

Well, well, what do we have here?

In the same spirit as the (in)famous Knicks "frozen envelope" which landed Patrick Ewing, conspiracy theories were rampant before the 2012 NBA Draft lottery last night. And what ended up happening? Let's just say that the NBA owns one franchise out of 30. And that team won the lottery. Not only that, but the soon-to-be-owner had to be negotiated into paying the NBA's asking price, only recently acquiescing to the purchase on David Stern's terms. What was the swaying factor? Yes, the New Orleans Hornets will be picking number one, and we apparently will be seeing the Unibrow on the Bayou. (Patent Pending)

Fear not, young Nick. #4 isn't that bad.
(AP/Jason DeCrow)
Uggh. All Cavaliers fans had their visions of Kyrie-to-Anthony-Davis lobs for the next 10 years. If not, then KI-to-MKG sounds like a great scoring punch. Unfortunately, with New Orleans jumping up to number one, that moved the Cavs down to #4. The world isn't falling--the #4 pick will can bring a great player to complement Irving and keep the Cavaliers on their rebuilding path.  But I was sure that the fix was in for Cleveland this time. Of course last year's #1 pick was the league's settlement with Dan Gilbert for the tampering charges that Gilbert eventually stopped investigating. But I had figured the settlement included two #1 picks. Oh well. Sometimes conspiracies have to battle each other, and this time Cleveland lost out.

I'm no college basketball Mel Kiper. I, like most NBA fans, will be focused on the draft a lot more the closer we get to June 28. But I know what my gut is telling me. I'm very nervous about Harrison Barnes. I've never got the "he's got it" feeling from him. Plus, does he not look a little soft? (The "he's got it feeling" I'm referring to is the one I got watching Trent Richardson run, even though I'd have much rather have RG3 in Brown and Orange this year.)  I'd be happy, of course, with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, or Bradley Beal, to give Irving the scoring help the Cavaliers desperately need. But I guess my hope is for Thomas Robinson from Kansas. Strong, athletic, hard working big man. Great rebounder. Not as much upside as some (see Drummond, Andre). But not as much risk either. Any way you slice it, there will be some prime talent for the Cavaliers to take at #4. All is not lost. (And I suppose there is a chance for a trade up--I just don't think that's very likely. Unless Charlotte or New Orleans is really in love with Tristan Thompson or Anderson Varajao.)

The Cleveland contingent did their best to sway the odds, bringing down the lucky charms in Nick Gilbert, Joe Haden, Bernie Kosar, Josh Cribbs, and even bow-tie aficionado Dhani Jones. It just hasn't been the luckiest week for Cleveland. Maybe next time the Cavaliers are in the lottery, Kenny Lofton can come along. I think he'd look pretty swell in a bow tie.