Sports

We're #1...at being #1

Chad W. Lutz
The Gilberts: Making bold proclamations and winning high draft picks since 2010 (www.nba.com)
Last night, Nick Gilbert sat smugly onstage amidst other NBA owners and boldly proclaimed, "This will be our last year here." What the young sprite from the rust-belt Parthenon known as Cleveland, Ohio, was referring to was the NBA Draft Lottery proceedings. For the past three years, the Cavaliers have figured prominently in the event, taking home the #1 and #4 picks in 2011 and the #4 pick in 2012. Heading into the ceremony (for lack of better words), which never fails to play out more like a parade of forced smiles from the owners and commissioner David Stern, the Wine and Gold only stood a 15.6% chance of taking home the number one pick. The proverbial curtain rose, tension mounted, and the secrecy sleeves were opened and read.

The Washington Wizards may have made out the silent winner in the draft, taking home the #3 overall pick when originally slated to receive the pick #9, but it was Cleveland that ultimately stole the show. The Charlotte Bobcats, whose owner, Michael Jordan, recently announced the team would revert back to the Hornets nomenclature effective for the 2013-2014 season, were originally slated ahead of the Cavaliers at projected to win the bid for the #2 pick. However, their slot would ultimately change due to the Wizards good fortunes. When it was all said and done, the Bobcats (soon Hornets) received the #4 pick overall, Washington moved up to the #3 spot, and then it all came down to the Magic and Cavs for the #1 and #2 picks overall.

Dan Gilbert, in attendance with his son, Machine Gun Kelly, and several other Cavalier big whigs, sat clutching those around him in silent anticipation. The only things screaming louder than his nerves were his Wine colored suit and bowtie. But as the #2 pick was awarded, no one was screaming louder than Gilbert and Co. In fact, they were the only ones screaming.

I screamed too because it means big things, or at least the possibility of big things. In the past three NBA Drafts, the Cleveland Cavaliers have dipped into the candy basket like a diabetic child. And, so far, we've made out like bandits. Many speculate what Gilbert and GM Chris Grant intend to do with the top pick in the 2013 Draft. As Magic Johnson put it during the pregame show prior to Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, "It's a good draft, not a great draft, but a good draft." There are many viable options that may serve to fill gaps in defenses or add size and depth to rosters. It's no secret that Cavaliers big man Anderson Varejao is unreliable, at best, and that Tyler Zeller isn't quite where he needs to be in order to fill the starting center role just yet.

"You want to look at all your options and make the best decision for your team," Chris Grant told ESPN reporters shortly after the Cavs were awarded the #1 pick.

If nothing else, the 2013 Draft Lottery gives Cleveland a taste of something we never quite seem to be able to savor: winning. But, don't tell that to 16-year old Nick Gilbert.

"I feel like we're going to make a playoff run next year," he touted both before and after the pick was awarded.
Let's hope your confidence proves as sure as that bowtie, kid. (www.nba.com)