Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Hoop & The Harm: Cavs Win Lottery, T-Wolves Are Sour, Ratings Soar

Gilbert’s “Decision”

Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert will have a couple of big decisions to make in just over a month, which he hopes will ease the pain of “The” Decision.

The Cavs won the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night after the club’s first season without LeBron James, who left for Miami last summer. Represented on stage by Gilbert’s 14-year-old son Nick, Cleveland walked away with the first and fourth picks thanks to a trade with the LA Clippers back in February.

While the 2011 draft pool isn’t seen as being incredibly deep, Gilbert and the Cavaliers still have a pretty solid opportunity here to right a ship that was left in tatters by the departure of King James.

The night was made even more special for the team’s owner because his son Nick, who suffers from a nerve disorder that causes tumors to grow in his body, was a hit as the team rep. After the Cavs secured the top pick, Nick was asked what he thought of his dad calling him a “hero,” to which the bowtie-wearing teen replied (via Sporting News):

“Well, I mean, what’s not to like? I’m the oldest of five. I have a good life. I’m going through this disease, but I’m going through it well, I’m getting better. Research (is helping) with all the money people are donating. Yeah, everything’s going good.”

As for the Clippers, whose lottery pick ended up being the lucky one, GM Neil Olshey says they don't regret the trade one bit. The team offloaded $8.5-million in salary when it sent Baron Davis and that draft pick to Cleveland for Mo Williams and Jamario Moon.

Olshey says there’s no way to “Monday morning quarterback” this situation. At the end of the day, they cleared major space by making the move, which will help them build around Blake Griffin!

Kahn’t Believe It

Wherever there are winners, there are losers and Tuesday’s event wasn’t immune to a bit of controversy.

The Draft Lottery hasn’t been very kind to the Minnesota Timberwolves lately and GM David Kahn is sick and tired of it. Minnesota dropped to the fourth spot last year after having the second-worst record in the NBA and they finished dead last this year, but dropped to number two. Afterwards, Kahn hinted that it just seems too good to be true for some other teams (via PBT):

“This league has a habit, and I am just going to say habit, of producing some pretty incredible story lines. Last year it was Abe Pollin’s widow [securing the top pick] and this year it was a 14-year-old boy and the only thing we have in common is we have both been bar mitzvahed. We were done. I told [Utah GM Kevin O’Connor]: ‘We’re toast. This is not happening for us,’ and I was right.”

Whether or not he was trying to be funny, as some have suggested, it looks like he’s probably earned himself a Stern talking to (see what I did there?) and probably a stiff kick in the wallet for those comments.

Did Kahn cross the line?

It sounds to me like he was just speaking out of sheer disbelief that his T-wolves would be missing out on the top pick for a second straight season. That said, hinting that the lottery is rigged probably isn’t the best way to go about it!

Bulls on Parade

Have you been watching the NBA playoffs this spring?

The league announced on Tuesday that viewership in the US is up by almost a third for the 2011 playoffs so far, with games in the second round jumping a whole 28 percent from the year before! That’s not even the most impressive stat though – according to their numbers, over 11 million people tuned in to watch game one of the Eastern Conference Final between the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat on Sunday!

While I’m not surprised that a matchup between the league’s MVP and the trio known as “The Big Three” would be a big draw, those numbers are still pretty amazing.

If you’re wondering what you missed on Sunday, here’s a taste courtesy of Chicago’s Taj Gibson:

I know, right? There was also this bit of ridiculous from Gibson a little earlier in the game.

Game two in that series goes Wednesday night!

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