With the NBA Lottery just six days away, the Cleveland Cavaliers are probably glued to college tape and scouting reports, trying to decide what moves to make.
Cleveland is set to pick at the back end of the lottery, mainly due to its failure to make the playoffs.
The team had two chances to make the NBA postseason, playing in two “play-in” games a few weeks back.
The team dropped the first game to the Brooklyn Nets, who automatically qualified with the win.
Then the Cavs lost to the Atlanta Hawks, who had to beat both Charlotte and Cleveland to make the postseason.
Both the Nets and Hawks lost their first-round series against the Celtics and Heat, respectively.
Had the Cavs won just one of those contests, they would be on the outside of the lottery looking in.
But what can fans expect in the lottery?
In all likelihood, the Cavs will be picking at no. 14 in the draft, the very last lottery slot.
But, nothing is technically set in stone.
"We’re a young team, we’re fun to watch, it’s a lot of exciting basketball: threes, alley oops and dunks. Why not invest in us? We can only get better. We young and we lit." @dariusgarland22 on the @cavs: https://t.co/V1DBGlO8gM pic.twitter.com/VoV2XuRwNv
— GQ Sports (@GQSports) May 10, 2022
The team possesses a 2.4% chance to move into the top four, and a thin .5% chance to land the top pick.
It’s tight, but…impossible?
Especially, considering the Cavs had one of the luckiest lottery stories in NBA history.
Like back in 2014, the 33-49 Cavaliers had the ninth-worst record in the league, giving them the ninth-best odds to land the top pick.
For those keeping score at home, that was about a 1.7% chance.
As you might recall, on lottery night, the Cavs’ name was called first and a few weeks later, the team went on to pick (and then trade) Andrew Wiggins.
2.4% seems like nothing compared to 2014’s chances.
But things have changed, with the league making moves to discourage tanking.
For example, this season, the ninth-place Spurs have a 20.3% chance of grabbing the top pick.
It’s still weighted heavily towards the worst teams, this year’s basement consisting of the Rockets, Pistons, and Magic.
For all the talk of lottery magic, there is still over a 97% chance that the Cavs pick at no. 14.
A Trade Up?
It will be a tough sell for President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman and Co. to convince one of the top picks to trade down.
For starters, the draft projects three high ceiling prospects in Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, and Jabari Smith.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) May 11, 2022
They are the type of players that GMs have had their eyes on since last year’s draft.
And for good reason; each one brings something a little different to the table, meaning teams picking in the top of the lottery can find the best player with current personnel.
Convincing a team to move down picks (likely pick no. 14-plus) and a handful of players probably won’t thrill.
There’s also decent talent to be found at the back end of the lottery.
Guys like Kansas’ Ochai Agbaji, Duke’s Mark Williams, and Arizona’s Bennedict Mathurin all project to be available in the late lottery.
Williams could satisfy the team’s need for a back up center, while Agbaji and Mathurin could provide spark-plug shooting off the bench.