Ganter: Time for Cleveland Cavs sympathy to end

The Cleveland Cavaliers won the 2014 NBA Draft Lottery Tuesday night. (Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via...

The Cleveland Cavaliers won the 2014 NBA Draft Lottery Tuesday night. (Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images/AFP)

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, Last Updated: 11:56 PM ET

All that sympathy NBA fans have been feeling for the Cleveland Cavaliers since LeBron James jumped ship and left them rudderless has to be coming to an end by now, doesn’t it?

Losing the best player of this generation to the Miami Heat was the kind of gut punch few around the league felt the organization would ever recover from.

But the luck of the draw at the NBA draft lottery may have accomplished the impossible.

For the third time in four years and the second year in a row, the Cleveland Cavaliers learned on Tuesday night that they once again own the first-overall selection in the NBA draft courtesy of more ping-pong ball luck.

Only this time the odds were more stacked than ever against the Cavs.

They began the night with the ninth-best chance at landing the No. 1 pick, a mathematical chance of just 1.7% to hit paydirt and they did it.

Only once since 1994 has a team come from No. 9 to get the first pick and that was the Chicago Bulls in 2008 when they snagged franchise-altering point guard Derrick Rose.

The Cavs will get their own shot at a franchise altering player and it could come from this side of the border as Kansas freshman and Thornhill native Andrew Wiggins will be there for the taking.

His biggest competition though could come from Kansas teammate Joel Embiid, the seven-foot shot-blocking centre who has only begun to scratch the surface of the potential within

But Wiggins has potential by the bushel full as well. Really it’s going to come down to what new Cavs GM David Griffin and his staff decide is the best fit for a team full of individual talent but not yet performing as a solid team.

Griffin represented the Cavs at the draft lottery, bumping Cavs’ owner Dan Gilbert’s son Nick from the proceedings.

It was Nick Gilbert who was there representing the Cavs for the previous two first-round selections in 2013 and 2011. Griffin made a point of visiting with his owner’s oldest son and asking his advice prior to heading to New York for the draft. He also came away with one of the bow ties that Gilbert wore both last year and in 2011 and had it in his breast pocket on Tuesday night when the Cavs got lucky again.

Griffin called it a “defining moment” for the franchise.

The biggest loser on draft night was the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons, who recently handed over control of the franchise to new head coach and president Stan Van Gundy, went in with the eighth-best odds at a first-overall pick, but when Cleveland leapfrogged into the top three, Detroit’s spot fell to ninth. Because the pick was only top-eight protected, Charlotte will now make that selection and Detroit is without a first-round pick.

The trade that put them in that predicament was a 2012 deal with the then Charlotte Bobcats in which Detroit unloaded Ben Gordon’s hefty contract along with the pick in exchange for Corey Maggette. At the time the deal saved the Pistons $14-million, but that money was used to help bring Josh Smith to Detroit and we all saw how that turned out.

For the Cavs, the night could not have gone any better and sets up the possibility of a very Canadian-heavy lineup if Griffin chooses to go that way.

The Cavs already have a pair of Brampton products in Tristan Thompson and Anthony Bennett. Add Wiggins to the mix and Canadian diehards might have a tough time choosing between Canada’s only NBA franchise in Toronto and what would become the most Canadian-heavy roster in NBA history in Cleveland.

And while we’re on the subject of possibilities, the further strengthening of an already talent loaded roster should only increase the speculation of Cleveland as the next landing spot for LeBron James should he move on from Miami after next season.

A return to Cleveland for James as early as 2015 has been suggested before, but now with another top talent on the way, it can’t help but make the Cavs a more attractive destination for a guy who grew up just a few miles down the road in Akron, Ohio.

THE LOTTERY HEADING IN

Team Odds

1. Milwaukee Bucks 25.0%

2. Philadelphia 76ers 19.9%

3. Orlando Magic 15.6%

4. Utah Jazz 10.4%

5. Boston Celtics 10.3%

6. Los Angeles Lakers 6.3%

7. Sacramento Kings 4.3%

8. Detroit Pistons* 2.8%

9. Cleveland Cavaliers 1.7%

10. New Orleans Pelicans 1.1%

11. Denver Nuggets 0.8%

12. New York Knicks 0.7%

13. Minnesota Timberwolves***** 0.6%

14. Phoenix Suns 0.5%

HOW IT WOUND UP

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

2. Milwaukee Bucks

3. Philadelphia 76ers

4. Orlando Magic

5. Utah Jazz

6. Boston Celtics

7. Los Angeles Lakers

8. Sacramento Kings

9. Charlotte Hornets ( via Detroit)

10. Philadelphia 76ers (via New Orleans)

11. Denver Nuggets

12. Orlando Magic (via NY Knicks)

13. Minnesota Timberwolves

14 Phoenix Suns


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