Cavaliers win NBA draft lottery again


NEW YORK — Nick Gilbert and the Cleveland Cavaliers have beaten the NBA lottery odds again.

The Cavaliers won the lottery for the second time in three years Tuesday, giving them the No. 1 pick for the June 27 draft.

Gilbert, owner Dan Gilbert’s bowtie-wearing son, was on stage for another the victory. After he won it in 2011, the Cavs used the pick 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.

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 as well — celebrated their latest victory, which came with 15.6 percent odds after they finished with the NBA’s third-worst record at 24-58.

“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,” Nick said.

Dan Gilbert called Nick, born with Neurofibromatosis (NF), a nerve disorder that causes tumors to grow anywhere in the body at any time, his “hero” after the 2011 win.

Nick, who wears thick glasses, charmed viewers before that one, responding to a question about being there by saying: “What’s not to like?”

He wore a stern look this time, saying he expected he was done coming here and that he believed the Cavs would be in the playoffs next season.

They got a nice jump on that goal.

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.”