Entering Tuesday night’s NBA Draft Lottery, the Cleveland Cavaliers had hopes of securing the rights to Zion Williamson – or at least another one of the draft’s top three prospects.
Luck, however, wasn’t on the Cavs’ side.
With the NBA’s lottery system being used to determine the top-four picks in the draft, Cleveland found itself on the outside looking in as the New Orleans Pelicans landed the No. 1 pick, with the Memphis Grizzlies placing second, the New York Knicks placing third and the Los Angeles Lakers securing the No. 4 pick. Having been bumped out of the top-four, the Cavs will select fifth overall in the NBA Draft, which is scheduled to take place on June 20.
Falling to fifth was the second-to-worst case scenario for Cleveland, which entered the draft lottery as one of three teams with a 14 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick – the best odds available under the current NBA Draft Lottery format. Had the Knicks also been bumped out of the top four, the Cavs would have fell to sixth after entering the lottery in the No. 2 slot.
Only that doesn’t mean the Cavs still can’t land a quality, high upside player with their pick, even with Duke forward Zion Williamson, Murray State guard Ja Morant and Duke guard R.J. Barrett almost assuredly off the board. Instead, Cleveland turn its attention toward the draft’s second tier of prospects, which includes Texas Tech guard Jarrett Culver, Virginia guard/forward De’Andre Hunter and Duke forward Cam Reddish among others.
"We have a chance to add an impact player at both picks that will supplement and complement the group,” Cavs general manager Koby Altman said of his team’s pick last month. “Are we looking for a specific position? No. We're looking for the best talent that we see in this draft.”
In addition to the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, the Cavs also lay claim to the No. 26 pick, which they acquired from the Houston Rockets in a three-way trade involving the Sacramento Kings earlier this year.
WATCH | Jim Donovan and Dave "Dino" DeNatale react to the Cavs getting the No. 5 pick in the NBA Draft on the Donovan Live Postgame Show: