The Cleveland Cavaliers went from possibly grabbing a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference to a team that looks like they are playing to increase their chances in the 2012 NBA Lottery Draft. When Anderson Varejao went down the Cavaliers were still squeaking out wins against other playoff contenders. The Cavaliers were still considered a playoff team mostly due to the fourth-quarter play from Kyrie Irving. Whether he was driving to the hole for the go-ahead bucket or putting up double-digit points in the final quarter.
After guard Ramon Sessions was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, it was clear that the Cavaliers were more interested in rebuilding the team for next year than making it to the playoffs. Completely understandable.
More injuries plagued Cleveland as Daniel Gibson, who hurt his ankle in March, is expected to be out the rest of the season and Irving, who was just recently put on the injury report, is likely to miss anywhere from seven to 10 days. Why risk further hurting key players when those players can rest their tired bodies?
With each loss the Cavaliers are increasing their chances of getting a good pick in the NBA Lottery. If the Cavaliers don’t get the spot they wanted in the draft, it is always a possibility that Cleveland could barter their three (possibility of four) 2012 first round picks and a second round pick in 2012 from New Orleans. If the Cavaliers play their cards right, they could end up with two very talented players.
Here are the odds (as of Wednesday, April 4) that each lottery team has of snagging the number one pick:
1. Charlotte Bobcats – 25 percent
2. Washington Wizards – 19.9 percent
3. New Orleans Hornets – 15.6 percent
4. Cleveland Cavaliers – 11.9 percent
5. New Jersey Nets (rights to Portland Trailblazers) – 8.8 percent
6. Toronto Raptors – 5.4 percent
7. Sacramento Kings – 5.3 percent
8. Detroit Pistons – 2.8 percent
10. Minnesota Timberwolves (rights to New Orleans Hornets) – 1.1 percent
11. Portland Trailblazers – 0.8 percent
12. Milwaukee Bucks – 0.7 percent
13. Phoenix Suns – 0.6 percent
14. Utah Jazz – 0.5 percent