Who knew Cavs owner Dan Gilbert had an ace up his sleeve?
With his 14-year-old son Nick representing the Cavs at the 2011 NBA draft lottery, Gilbert pulled off a full house, obtaining the first and fourth overall picks in the upcoming draft.
“I just want to thank the people of Cleveland,” said Gilbert. “It’s been a difficult year.”
The first pick ended up being the selection the Cavs acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers in a trade that sent Mo Williams to LA. That pick was supposed to be the number eight selection, but luck was on the Cavs side. This is the first time in franchise history the Cavs have held two picks in the top-five. They held two picks in the top-ten in 1986 when they selected Brad Daugherty and Ron Harper.
Gilbert sat in the crowd watching, flanked by Browns players Josh Cribbs and Joe Haden along with former Browns QB Bernie Kosar. As the final three picks were unveiled, Nick Gilbert stood on stage alongside the Jazz and Timberwolves team reps and raised his arm triumphantly as the final envelope was opened.
Most experts have named Kyrie Irving from Duke as the likely number one pick. This versatile point guard will be pegged with turning around a franchise still reeling from the effects of losing LeBron James.
It won’t be an easy task. The Cavs won only 19 games during the 2010-2011 season and suffered through the longest losing streak in NBA history. But these two picks should dramatically increase the talent pool on the Cavaliers.
Overall, it was an immensely successful night for Gilbert and his team. Now it’s on the Cavs front office to make the most of their good fortune. As long as the NBA avoids a potential lockout at season’s end, the 2011 NBA draft will take place on June 23rd. Cavs fans will definitely be watching.