After finishing at 22-50, the Cleveland Cavaliers finished among the worst teams in the NBA. The Cavs finished with the fourth-worst record along with the Oklahoma City Thunder. In the past, the lottery treated Cleveland fairly well. However, over the past couple of lottery drafts, the Cavaliers have not been so lucky. No matter where they fall, there should be a player available that will fit Cleveland’s roster well. Of course, the Cavaliers hope to land the top pick or a top three pick, but will their odds allow it?
Cleveland’s Lucky Lottery Stretch
The Cavs had a fantastic lottery stretch from 2011 to 2013. They were fortunate enough to land two number one picks and a fourth pick within just three years. On the other hand, Cleveland was among the worst teams in the NBA during this stretch, but they still grabbed some picks higher than expected. For example, in the 2012-13 season they finished with the third-worst record and landed the first pick.
In the 2011 NBA Draft Lottery, the Cavs landed the first pick and selected Kyrie Irving. This of course worked out extremely well for Cleveland. In the following 2012 and 2013 NBA Drafts, Cleveland did not draft so well. With the fourth pick in the 2012 draft, the Cavaliers selected Dion Waiters. Waiters had a few solid seasons in Cleveland, but never developed into much beyond a solid role player. In the 2013 NBA Draft, the Cavs selected possibly the worst bust of all time at number one, Anthony Bennett out of UNLV.
Bad Luck in Lottery
While Cleveland was fortunate in the lottery from 2011 to 2013, they have seen their luck decrease over the past two lotteries. Teams who finish with one of the top three worst records in the NBA all have a 14% chance at the number one pick and have an equal chance of 52.1% to land a top four pick.
In the 2018-19 season, Cleveland tied with the Suns for the second-worst record in the NBA at 19-63. In the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery, Cleveland had the best possible chance to land the first pick or at least a top four pick. However, they ended up with the fifth pick. Following the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery, Cleveland finished with yet another top three worst record in the NBA in the 2019-20 season. Once again, the Cavs had the best odds to gain the top pick or a top four pick, but they ended up with the fifth pick again. Will Cleveland overcome bad luck in this year’s NBA Draft Lottery?
2021 Lottery Odds
As mentioned, the Cavs finished with the fourth-worst record in the NBA this year. This gives Cleveland a 11.5% chance at the number one pick and 45.1% odds for a top four pick. In more detail, they have 11.4% odds for the second pick, 11.2% for the third pick, 11% for the fourth pick and 2% for the fifth pick. Cleveland has the highest chance to land the sixth or seventh pick. They have a 18.2% chance to gain the sixth pick and 25.5% odds to hit the seventh pick.
One week away from the Mega-Lottery! pic.twitter.com/Hl5t3D3yWl
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) June 15, 2021
Clearly, the difference between a player selected at number one versus seven is a big difference. For example, with the first pick the Cavs could grab Cade Cunningham. The big, playmaking guard is widely acclaimed as the best player in the 2021 NBA Draft. At seven, the Cavs would likely look at raw forward prospects like Scottie Barnes or Jalen Johnson. Cunningham would be an instant impact, while someone like Barnes would likely need time to emerge.
Possibly this is the year Cleveland catches a break in the lottery. The Cavs simply need to land one more instant impact talent to get over the losing hump. Someone like Cunningham alongside Darius Garland and Collin Sexton could be something special. Catch the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery at 8:30 PM EST on Tuesday June 22nd.