In some ways, the 2021-22 NBA season was a disappointment for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
After coming out of seemingly nowhere to surpass expectations and rise in the Eastern Conference standings, the Cavs suddenly looked like a team that would make the playoffs.
They just barely missed out on making the postseason outright, and instead, they had to go through the play-in tournament.
But after blowing leads versus both the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland ended up missing the playoffs for the third straight season.
The one silver lining is that once again, it will be participating in the NBA draft lottery.
On Monday, it was announced that former Cav Anderson Varejao will be representing the team there.
Anderson Varejão will serve as the #Cavs representative at the NBA Draft Lottery in Chicago tomorrow.
— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) May 16, 2022
Varejao Was A Franchise Pillar
For many years, Varejao was one of the team’s main frontcourt rotation players, and he became a fan favorite.
A year after LeBron James first came to town, the Brazil native was taken by the Cavs with the 30th overall pick in the NBA draft.
During James’ first tenure in Cleveland, Varejao did the hard work of battling for rebounds, playing defense and occasionally blocking shots and scoring garbage baskets.
After James took his talents to South Beach in the summer of 2010, the 6-foot-10 big man played a somewhat bigger role, moving into the starting lineup and boosting his numbers.
In the 2012 and 2013 seasons, he averaged 11.5 and 14.4 rebounds a game, respectively, and in the latter year he also put up a career-high 14.1 points per contest.
James returned in 2014 and took the Cavs to the NBA Finals the following June, but the next season, Varejao had a big piece of misfortune at the tail-end of his career.
He was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers, who waived him, allowing him to sign with the Golden State Warriors, putting him on the wrong side of Cleveland’s comeback from a 3-1 deficit in the championship series.
Varejao made a brief return to Cleveland last season after he has been out of the NBA for three seasons, playing in five contests with a new generation of Cavs.
The team’s fans seem happy that he will be at the draft lottery, hoping to get a higher pick than expected in next month’s draft.
Let's hope Anderson Varejao brings luck to Cavs Nation in the Draft Lottery 🤞 pic.twitter.com/lC6vWOkS1g
— Cavs Nation (@CavsNationCP) May 16, 2022
Former #Cavs forward and fan favorite Anderson Varejao will represent the team at the NBA draft lottery tomorrow in Chicago.
He'll get 8 rebounds, easy.
— Tom Withers (@twithersAP) May 16, 2022
Could The Cavs Get Lucky?
Since they had the best record of all teams that didn’t make the playoffs, the Cavs don’t exactly have a great chance of getting a very high pick in the lottery.
“Of the 14 lottery teams, the Cavaliers sit with the worst odds of moving into the top four of the 2022 NBA Draft,” wrote Danny Cunningham of Wkyc.com. “The Cavaliers have a 2.4 percent chance to move into the top four of the draft, and a 0.5 percent chance to obtain the No. 1 overall selection by virtue of the lottery.”
But that doesn’t mean that Cleveland cannot move up several spots.
In 2014, it had only the ninth-highest chance of winning the draft lottery at 1.7 percent, only to do just that.