A Top Pick For Cavs Guarantees Nothing

By: T.J. Zuppe

In Cleveland, fans have been taught one thing over the course of their lives – Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

It may be very a very cynical way of looking at the sports world, however sometimes the word “prepare” is still overlooked. For Cavs fans, they indeed need to be prepared.

Currently, the Cavaliers are the worst team in basketball and on their way to a possible top overall selection, in the NBA draft lottery. The Cleveland faithful have adorned the “another ping-pong ball in the hopper” view of the 2010-2011 season, as they gravitate towards any glimmer of a positive to tie themselves to.

There seems to be a groundswell of a thought process that surrounds bottoming out. That being, if the Cavs are able to nab the top overall pick, it will be a sure thing to becoming relevant.

Once again, be prepared for if that does not work.

In looking at the number one pick in past NBA draft lotteries, having the top selection does not guarantee squat. Those top selection include the following, starting with 2008:

  • Michael Olowokandi

    2008: Derek Rose – Chicago Bulls

  • 2007: Greg Oden – Portland Trailblazers
  • 2006: Andrea Bargnani – Toronto Raptors
  • 2005: Andrew Bogut – Milwaukee Bucks
  • 2004: Dwight Howard – Orlando Magic
  • 2003: Lebron James – Cleveland Cavaliers
  • 2002: Yao Ming – Houston Rockets
  • 2001: Kwame Brown – Washington Wizards
  • 2000: Kenyon Martin – New Jersey Nets
  • 1999: Elton Brand – Chicago Bulls
  • 1998: Michael Olowokandi – Los Angeles Clippers
  • 1997: Tim Duncan – San Antonio Spurs
  • 1996: Allen Iverson – Philadelphia 76ers

In looking at that list, the fact that nothing is guaranteed certainly rears it’s ugly head.

While it is too early to diagnose guard Derek Rose, as he has his Bulls poised at a run deep in the playoffs, there is certainly enough players on that list to show an immediate turnaround is the exception, not the rule.

Howard is certainly a success story in Orlando. James is within striking distance of a championship, but will not be doing it with his original team in Cleveland.

Duncan was blessed to join a unique situation in San Antonio with center David Robinson, where the team had lost a boat load of games due to Robinson’s injury, but still had talent to surround the Spurs with early in Duncan’s career.

Even the Knicks, who destroyed their entire history and became the joke, have only improved this season by making a concerted effort to win again. They can thank men named Amar’e Stoudemire and Raymond Felton for that.

Yet, when the team is as bad as the Cavaliers have been, they do not have any other option but to reach rock bottom. There is no easy fix and at this point, everything is a just a band-aid.

The only thing Cleveland fans should be prepared for (as the informed have been) is the “what if” factor. What if having the top pick fixes nothing? What if we sit 10 years from now in the same boat once again?

What the Cavs front office has to focus on now is getting that pick right. And on top of that, they have to surround that piece with more future first round picks. Simply having those selections means nothing. It will be up to general manager Chris Grant to be spot-on within the absolute crap shoot of the NBA draft.

It will not be fixed in one year, and that is something we can all agree on.

Just be prepared.



  1. Shows you that #1 can be the franchise (Duncan), high end starter (Martin), or A clippers draft pick. I am interested who you like early on as a top pick- Irving or Sullinger?

    Keep up the good work

  2. Yes the #1 overall does not guarantee a turnaround which is why this team has been stockpiling draft picks.When/if they make trades before the deadline, it’ll be for more draft picks. The FO realizes now that adding a piece or two to this roster will do anything. Time to burn it down and build it up again, and that’ll be through the draft.

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