The prevailing fear of impending doom used to engulf my Cleveland sports fan soul as night's like this Wednesday approached in year's past. A game of chance, ping pong balls, a hopper machine I never quite understood the mechanics of, a closed room we are not allowed to peer into, it all used to feel like a recipe for inevitable disaster. The sports world would surely be left laughing at our luck once again, as they danced on our hope for a better tomorrow. Poor Cleveland, they'd all say, as their evil snickers roared into laughter.
That was the pitiful existence I toiled in as a Cavs fan on night's like the Draft Lottery before meeting Nick Gilbert. Now I'm not only excited about our chances, but confident that whatever happens will be the the best case scenario for this team moving forward. Maybe it's the bow tie, or the way he wears it, but I just feel good about the whole thing with Nicky G at the helm. He'll be on location with the same crew he came through with last year - Bernie Kosar, Josh Cribbs, Joe Haden, along with Kyrie Irving this time - and he's smart to put those same positive vibes back out into the Lottosphere. His Dad said he'll be grounded if he doesn't win a good pick tomorrow night, and he probably would be, but he's not afraid of losing because Nick Gilbert always wins. Just like he will on Wednesday night, no matter what happens.
Maybe winning this Lottery means that he'll get pick number one again. Maybe this time it's pick number two. Or maybe, like Gloria told Billy Hoyle in White Men Can't Jump, that "sometimes when you lose, you really win". Meaning, even if the Cavaliers pick 6th, I feel like Perry Jones III will then become that Small Forward who NBA Scouts dream he might be one day. Or possibly the Cavaliers neither win or lose, hold serve and pick third, and Nick allows that second pick to go to a team who doesn't want MKG for some reason and the Cavs get my guy anyways. Whichever way it goes, I just have this feeling that it will shake out right for Cleveland. I appreciate that bow tie rocking swagged out little dude for that too, and thank Nick Gilbert for making this thing fun tomorrow.
More on MKG at SLAM: As a follow up to the SLAMonline article I wrote on MKG last week, I finished up a piece on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist over the weekend that is scheduled to run in SLAM 160. After watching him workout four times over the last couple weeks, I can't tell you how much I hope he ends up on the Cleveland Cavaliers. His game, his work ethic, his attitude, and his relationship with both Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson couldn't mesh any more perfectly with what the Cavaliers are trying to build if you invented your own player for such purposes in NBA 2K12. I'll have more on all that though after the next issue of SLAM hits newsstands, for now you just have to trust me.
Bradley Beal Rounds Out My Top Three: If Nick does end up with the 6th pick I am confident that it will be for reasons deeper than anything I think I know right now looking at this Draft Class before they ever play a game in the NBA. That said, my top three overall - and for the Cavaliers - goes from Anthony Davis at one, to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at two, to Bradley Beal at three. After that, it's Harrison Barnes and Perry Jones III in no particular order. I'm not that high on Thomas Robinson, maybe some of that is because I needed Kansas to win the National Championship in order to cash in on all the money I didn't win in my NCAA tournament pool, but I also don't think he's what the Cavaliers need right now either. Andre Drummond is a guy I'm similarly bearish on; the 10 points, 7 rebounds, questionable motor, and work ethic red flags just don't move me. Beal is legitimate though, and while I would be disappointed if the Cavs lost out on MKG, I think Beal would help me with that some.
More on Wednesday after we know where the Cavaliers will be drafting on June 28th.