Blazers to pick 10th, Cavaliers first in draft

NEW YORK — The Portland Trail Blazers emerged from Tuesday's NBA draft lottery with the No. 10 pick.

The Blazers had an 87 percent chance of getting that spot for the June 27 draft.

Meanwhile, the Cavaliers beat the odds for the second time in three years, winning the lottery to give them the No. 1 pick.

The Cavs earned the first pick even though they had only the third-best odds to do so.

They used the first pick in 2011 to take eventual Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving.

The Orlando Magic fell back one spot to No. 2, while the Washington Wizards vaulted from the No. 8 spot to third.

Ten years after winning the lottery that landed them LeBron James, the Cavaliers picked up another opportunity to help speed up the rebuilding process since his departure to Miami in 2010.

James' exit shook a franchise that had become a perennial contender with the Ohio native, but the Cavs aren't thinking about that now.

"It's so long ago already. I knew it is only three years but in NBA years it's like dog years. It seems like it is 15 or 20 years," owner Dan Gilbert said. "We've been just so focused on building the team the last few years, I can't look back. There is nothing you can do. I am just happy about today."

The potential No. 1 pick this year, Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel, is no James. But he could be a nice addition for the Cavs once he's recovered from a torn ACL — if they keep the pick. They also have Nos. 19, 31 and 33 for new coach Mike Brown, who they rehired after firing Byron Scott following a 24-58 season.

"We were hoping regardless of what pick we got that this would be our last lottery," Dan Gilbert said. "We thought originally after everything had to be reset that it would be a three-year process. You never know. It could be four. We thought three years, but having No. 1 and 19, we've got a pretty good chance of this being the last one for a while."

Dan Gilbert and the rest of the Cavs entourage — all wearing wine-colored bowties — celebrated their latest victory, which came with 15.6 percent odds after they finished with the NBA's third-worst record at 24-58.

When they won the lottery in 2011, the Cavs had the eighth best odds.

"For everyone in Cleveland who has supported us through these three years, I think this is for them," Dan Gilbert said. "Is that right, Nick?"

"It feels good," said Dan's son Nick, who was born with Neurofibromatosis (NF), a nerve disorder that causes tumors to grow anywhere in the body at any time.

Not even having four-time winner Pat Williams on stage and 25 percent odds could get the No. 1 pick for the Magic. The team with the best odds hasn't won since 2004, when Orlando won for the third time with Williams representing them and drafted Dwight Howard. The franchise hadn't been back since 2006.

"We had such a nice run up here, over the years. Yeah, we came to win, so when they turned Cleveland over it was like "How did that happen? Absolutely! How did that happen?" Williams said.

"We had a better shot, a better percentage. ... I think the Lord was looking out for that little guy from Cleveland."

Even heading back to their Hornets name couldn't change the luck of the Bobcats, who were lottery losers for the second straight year. Hours after owner Michael Jordan announced they were planning to get back the original nickname of the Charlotte franchise, the Bobcats fell from No. 2 to the fourth spot.

Last year, Charlotte had the best odds of winning after the worst season in NBA history but fell back one spot to second.

The lottery sets the top three teams, and the remainder of the 14 teams finish in inverse order of their record.

Phoenix will pick fifth, followed by New Orleans, Sacramento, Detroit, Minnesota, Portland, Philadelphia, Oklahoma City, Dallas, and Utah.

The Pistons, where former South Medford High standout Kyle Singler plays, had been slatted in the seventh slot after winning a coin flip against the Washington Wizards and had a 3.6 percent chance of landing the top pick (and a 12.67 percent chance of landing in the top three).


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