The Cleveland Cavaliers won the draft lottery on Tuesday to earn the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, one year after losing LeBron James.
Represented by 14-year-old Nick Gilbert, the son of owner Dan Gilbert, the Cavaliers got a huge jump on their rebuilding when a pick they got from the Los Angeles Clippers in a midseason trade moved up from the No. 8 spot to the top.
They will choose first for the first time since 2003, when they drafted James.
James left for Miami last year and the Cavs tumbled to the second-worst record in the league, but they will have two top-four picks. They already had their own and picked up another at the trade deadline from the Los Angeles Clippers in the Baron Davis deal.
Minnesota will choose second and Utah turned New Jersey’s pick from the Deron Williams trade into the No. 3 selection.
The Timberwolves continued their unbelievable lottery losing streak, falling to 0 from 14 attempts and dropping for the eighth time. They had a 25 percent chance of winning after finishing with a league-worst 17-65 record.
Instead the luck went to the Cavs, who are used to playing deep in the playoffs and hope they won’t have to worry about this trip again.
Nick Gilbert was born with neurofibromatosis, a nerve disorder that causes tumors to grow anywhere in the body at any time. He was wearing black-rimmed glasses and a bow tie and looked serious until he showed a keen sense of humor in a television interview.
His father called him his “hero,” and the Cavs also brought along two Cleveland Browns dressed in the Cavs’ wine and gold jerseys for good luck.
They will likely decide between point guard Kyrie Irving of Duke University or University of Arizona forward Derrick Williams.