It seems like Nick Gilbert brings a lot of luck to the NBA Draft Lottery for the Cleveland Cavaliers. For the second time in three seasons as the franchise's lottery representative, the teenage son of Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has brought home the top pick in the draft. The Cavs, who finished the 2012-13 season with a 24-58 record, entered the lottery with the third-best chances of snagging the first selection at 15.6 percent.
The Orlando Magic, the league's worst team at 20-62, were forced to settle for the second pick. However, the biggest losers of the lottery were the Charlotte Bobcats (soon to be the Hornets), who dropped to the fourth spot after posting a 21-62 record, just one game better than the Magic. They were supplanted in the top three by the Washington Wizards, who entered the process with a 30 percent chance of jumping from the eighth pick into the trio of lottery spots.
While the Wizards will benefit the biggest boost of any team in the lottery, the Cavaliers are the clear winners of the event. In 2011, they won the top pick and selected Duke point guard Kyrie Irving, who earned his first All-Star selection this February in his second season. This June, Cleveland will have the chance to choose between Kentucky shot-blocker Nerlens Noel (currently rehabbing a torn ACL) and Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore. Given the presence of 2012 first-round pick Dion Waiters, the Cavs will likely opt for Noel, although that is merely an educated guess with the draft more than a month away.
While sitting at a desk festooned with a team logo is not typically considered a skill, Nick Gilbert has a strong argument for being the most effective lottery representative in NBA history. He's now been present for two lottery wins in three seasons, a record matched only by the time I won a Sega Genesis and Game Gear in consecutive raffles as a young child. Through it all, Gilbert has been extremely charismatic and likable. What's most impressive is that he has expressed that positivity despite being born with neurofibromatosis (NF), a nerve disorder that causes tumors to grow throughout the body at random. Gilbert has dealt with several rounds of chemotherapy, lost vision in one of his eyes, and lived through pain most of us will never have to experience. Yet, in 2011, his father referred to him as "the happiest and most optimistic person I know."
The Cavs sought out some extra good luck this year after Dan Gilbert organized a contest designed to find their luckiest fan. The winner, Roy Tate Moore, traveled with the Gilberts and the rest of the sizable Cavs entourage to the lottery and will partake in whatever festivities they have planned in the wake of this victory.
The rest of the lottery participants, apart from the very pleased Wizards, must now consider the true worth of their supposed good luck charms and ponder the cruelty of any organization that lets the fortunes of its members rest on the random bounces of a few ping-pong balls. Fans of those ill-fated teams can check the full 2013 draft order here.
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