The Milwaukee Bucks didn’t get the lucky bounces Tuesday night, as the Cleveland Cavaliers inexplicably jumped from ninth to first during the NBA Draft Lottery in New York.
The Bucks had a 25 percent chance of landing the top pick, but it was Cleveland—and its 1.7 percent odds—that jumped up to the top of the draft order.
It is the second straight year and the third time in the last four years that the Cavaliers have won the rights to the top pick.
Meanwhile, one of the Bucks’ new owners told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Tuesday night that general manager John Hammond will be the decision-maker during the June 26 draft.
Wesley Edens, while being noncommittal on Hammond’s long-term future with the franchise, said Hammond would remain in place for the near term.
“This is like Day 3 since we’ve been the owners of it,” Edens said. “We’re very focused on the draft and working with these guys closely.
“We’re very happy to have those guys working with us.”
The only player this likely scratches from the Bucks’ draft board is Kansas forward Andrew Wiggins, who will likely be the top overall pick. If Cleveland keeps the pick, they could use the help at small forward. The Cavs traded for Luol Deng from Chicago in January, but Deng is set to become a free agent in July.
That would leave the Bucks with many options, including Duke forward Jabari Parker—seen by many as the safest pick, even if he has less of the so-called “upside” so many draft analysts prattle on about.
Cleveland’s lottery win marked 10 consecutive years that the team with the best chance of landing the top pick ultimately did not draft first overall. The last team to remain in the No. 1 overall position was the Orlando Magic in 2004.
The Bucks have drafted first overall four times in their history:
- 1969: Lew Alcindor (later Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), C, UCLA
- 1977: Kent Benson, C, Indiana
- 1994: Glenn Robinson, F, Purdue
- 2005: Andrew Bogut, C, Utah
Fans at a lottery-watching party in Milwaukee weren’t disappointed by dropping one spot in the draft order.
“Everybody wants to be No. 1, but it could have been 3 or 4,” Jim Mueller of Waukesha told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I’m happy it’s not 3 or 4. There is a lot of optimism about this draft. We got No. 2 and I’m happy about that.”
The biggest losers Tuesday night were the Bucks’ Central Division rivals, the Detroit Pistons. Detroit had a top-eight protected pick and was in the eighth slot entering the lottery. But Cleveland’s rise from No. 9 to No. 1 dropped the Pistons to ninth and sent their first-round pick to the Charlotte Hornets as part of an earlier trade that sent Ben Gordon to Charlotte.
Here is the draft order that emerged Tuesday:
- L.A. Lakers
- Charlotte (from Detroit)
- Philadelphia (from New Orleans)
- Orlando (from New York through Denver)
- Chicago (from Charlotte)
- Boston (from Brooklyn)
- Phoenix (from Washington)
- Oklahoma City (from Dallas through Houston and the Lakers)
- Utah (from Golden State)
- Charlotte (from Portland)
- Phoenix (from Indiana)
- L.A. Clippers
- Oklahoma City
- San Antonio