Lady Luck might not have been on the Cleveland Cavaliers' side throughout the 2010-11 NBA season, as the team struggled early and often after losing LeBron James to the Miami Heat last summer. But she donned the wine and gold on Tuesday night at the 2011 NBA Draft Lottery in Secaucus, N.J., where the Cavaliers came away with two of the top four picks in this June's draft, including the top overall selection.
How lucky did Cleveland get on Tuesday? While the Cavaliers owned the lottery's second-highest odds of winning the top pick after finishing the year with the league's second-worst record (19-63), it was actually a ping-pong ball they'd received in a mid-season trade with the Los Angeles Clippers for beleaguered point guard Baron Davis that netted them No. 1 — a scenario that only had a 2.8 percent chance of coming to fruition. Their own entry, which had a 19.9 percent shot at the top slot, wound up drawing No. 4.
After finishing the season with an NBA-worst 17-65 record, the Minnesota Timberwolves entered Tuesday night with a 25 percent chance of leaving with the No. 1 draft pick. Instead, David Kahn and company came away with No. 2, continuing what Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press fairly deemed "their unbelievable lottery losing streak." The franchise has failed to come away with the top spot in 14 consecutive drawings, dropping below their ping-pong-ball-predicted draft position in eight lotteries.
While the Clippers were happy to shed Davis' contract and the Nets were thrilled to import Williams to run the point, I'm sure neither team is especially thrilled to have traded away a top-three draft pick right about now. The "moral of the story," according to draftnik Jonathan Givony of Draft Express? "[D]on't trade your picks unprotected!"
The Toronto Raptors, who came into the lottery with the third-best odds of taking the top spot (a 15.6 percent chance) will pick fifth, rounding out the top five.
Here's the rest of the lottery order:
6. Washington Wizards
7. Sacramento Kings
8. Detroit Pistons
9. Charlotte Bobcats
10. Milwaukee Bucks
11. Golden State Warriors
12. Utah Jazz
13. Phoenix Suns
14. Houston Rockets
After the jump: Video of NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver announcing Cleveland's lottery win, the story of the Cavs' good-luck charm, and more.