INDEPENDENCE: Nick Gilbert is 3-for-3 at delivering victories to the Cavaliers.
One year after sitting on the podium as the Cavs cashed in on a 2.8 percent chance at winning the No. 1 pick, the son of owner Dan Gilbert was in New York on Friday where the NBA held tiebreaker drawings at the league office to determine the draft order.
The Cavaliers won the tiebreaker with the New Orleans Hornets for the third pick, then won the tiebreaker with the Memphis Grizzlies for the 24th pick in the first round. Technically, the Los Angeles Lakers won the tiebreaker, but it’s the Lakers’ pick that belongs to the Cavs from the Ramon Sessions trade.
The Cavaliers will enter the May 30 lottery with 138 chances out of 1,000 at winning the No. 1 pick in the draft. Once the top three teams are established through the lottery, all the other teams will be slotted based on record. That means the Cavs’ first pick cannot fall past sixth.
Since the Cavaliers already own the Hornets’ second-round pick from the trade that sent LeBron James to the Miami Heat, they will have the third and fourth picks in the second round for a total of four of the top 34 picks.
As for who they’re targeting with that first pick, General Manager Chris Grant said on Friday it’s too early to say. The Cavs desperately need help on the wing, and this draft seems top heavy in wings with guys like Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Florida’s Bradley Beal, North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes and Connecticut’s Jeremy Lamb.
Kentucky’s Anthony Davis remains the top prize and the projected No. 1 pick, and Connecticut big man Andre Drummond could also go in the top five.
“We love the draft. The more picks we have, the better,” Grant said. “It’s hard to say what our expectations are yet because we haven’t talked to any of these kids. We’re really in the beginning of this process. We’ll get a chance to sit down and talk to them and find out about them as people and we’ll have a better idea of where we are.”
The NBA’s combine is June 6-10, a week after the draft lottery. And yes, the initial plan is for Nick Gilbert to again represent the Cavs on the podium at the lottery.
Kyrie Irving will likely be a runaway winner in Rookie of the Year voting. He finished the season leading all rookies in scoring (18.5) and was second in assists (5.4).
So what does he have for an encore?
“There is no limit for me,” Irving said. “The only way I can go is up. That’s the only way I want to go. It was a learning experience. I learned what to do and what not to do. Going forward, I want to apply it next season and take it to another level.”
If this was Anthony Parker’s final season in the NBA, he would be open to some type of front office role similar to what Zydrunas Ilgauskas has done. Ilgauskas became a special assistant to Grant this season and is part of the scouting and evaluation team.
Parker said earlier this season he didn’t think he wanted to coach, but he’s intrigued by other components of basketball.
“I would love to stay around the game in some way,” Parker said. “Certainly that’s something I would definitely entertain and be interested in.”
Parker, like Ilgauskas, has experience playing overseas and is familiar with the international game. He turns 37 in June and said he’ll make a decision whether or not to return sometime later this summer, but acknowledged Thursday he is giving retirement strong consideration.
“If this is it, this has been a great journey,” he said. “God has blessed me to be able to use basketball as a vehicle to do things I never thought I’d be able to do, to live in different countries, have friends all over the world and to do something that I love to do. I love the game of basketball. Whether this is it or not, that’s not going to change. To be able to do it on this level has just been a tremendous blessing.”
Casspi learning the game
Asked to assess Omri Casspi’s first season in Cleveland, Scott said he played ‘‘OK.’’ Then he said Casspi told him Friday morning that this was the first season where he really learned how to play the game.
Casspi, acquired last summer from the Sacramento Kings, just completed his third season in the league and has said repeatedly he didn’t have the type of season he was expecting. He averaged 7.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, shot 40 percent from the floor and 32 percent on 3-pointers — all career lows.
“Omri stated to me today this was really the first time he learned how to play basketball in a lot of different areas, which I thought was interesting,” Scott said. “But I also thought it was great, because it meant myself and my staff did a really good job of teaching him how to play the game the right way. That’s something for him to take home, learn from and grow from.”
Casspi lost his starting job midway through the season and will be entering the final season on his rookie contract next year.
“We’re real excited about him coming back,” Scott said. “I think he has a lot of room to grow and I think he can still be a very good basketball player for us.”
Z won’t coach
Scott said earlier in the season that Ilgauskas would spend time this summer and in training camp working with Tristan Thompson, but both Scott and Grant said on Friday that isn’t true.
“Z doesn’t want to coach,” Scott said. “Jamahl [Mosley] has done an excellent job with Tristan. He’s our big man coach.”
Added Grant: “If anybody wants to reach out and ask questions, great. Z has a wealth of knowledge. He won’t have a spot on staff.”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at https://ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.