It seems like Nick Gilbert brings a lot of luck to the NBA Draft Lottery for the Cleveland Cavaliers. For the second time in three seasons as the franchise's lottery representative, the teenage son of Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has brought home the top pick in the draft. The Cavs, who finished the 2012-13 season with a 24-58 record, entered the lottery with the third-best chances of snagging the first selection at 15.6 percent.
The Orlando Magic, the league's worst team at 20-62, were forced to settle for the second pick. However, the biggest losers of the lottery were the Charlotte Bobcats (soon to be the Hornets), who dropped to the fourth spot after posting a 21-62 record, just one game better than the Magic. They were supplanted in the top three by the Washington Wizards, who entered the process with a 30 percent chance of jumping from the eighth pick into the trio of lottery spots.
While the Wizards will benefit the biggest boost of any team in the lottery, the Cavaliers are the clear winners of the event. In 2011, they won the top pick and selected Duke point guard Kyrie Irving, who earned his first All-Star selection this February in his second season. This June, Cleveland will have the chance to choose between Kentucky shot-blocker Nerlens Noel (currently rehabbing a torn ACL) and Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore. Given the presence of 2012 first-round pick Dion Waiters, the Cavs will likely opt for Noel, although that is merely an educated guess with the draft more than a month away.
While sitting at a desk festooned with a team logo is not typically considered a skill, Nick Gilbert has a strong argument for being the most effective lottery representative in NBA history. He's now been present for two lottery wins in three seasons, a record matched only by the time I won a Sega Genesis and Game Gear in consecutive raffles as a young child. Through it all, Gilbert has been extremely charismatic and likable. What's most impressive is that he has expressed that positivity despite being born with neurofibromatosis (NF), a nerve disorder that causes tumors to grow throughout the body at random. Gilbert has dealt with several rounds of chemotherapy, lost vision in one of his eyes, and lived through pain most of us will never have to experience. Yet, in 2011, his father referred to him as "the happiest and most optimistic person I know."
The Cavs sought out some extra good luck this year after Dan Gilbert organized a contest designed to find their luckiest fan. The winner, Roy Tate Moore, traveled with the Gilberts and the rest of the sizable Cavs entourage to the lottery and will partake in whatever festivities they have planned in the wake of this victory.
The rest of the lottery participants, apart from the very pleased Wizards, must now consider the true worth of their supposed good luck charms and ponder the cruelty of any organization that lets the fortunes of its members rest on the random bounces of a few ping-pong balls. Fans of those ill-fated teams can check the full 2013 draft order here.
Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• Spurs fan enters Internet lore forever
• Michael Jordan announces the Charlotte Bobcats will become the Hornets
• East finals preview: Can the Pacers knock off the Heat?
• Clippers not retaining Vinny Del Negro as coach
Marc Gasol didn't have a monster Game 5 against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday, finishing making just five of his 13 field-goal attempts and grabbing a non-eye-popping seven rebounds in 41 minutes. But the burly center was there when the Memphis Grizzlies needed him most, with six of his 10 points — including a huge 19-footer with 27 seconds left — and two of his three blocks coming in the fourth quarter. And run back the tape on Kevin Durant's closing-seconds miss — check out which 7-foot-1 Spaniard is lurking just beyond the restricted area, ready to pounce on a drive and influencing Durant into pulling up.
Gasol's Game 5 numbers might not have been stunning, but his performance throughout the Western Conference semifinals was everything Memphis could have asked for and more — 19.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.8 blocks, 2.4 assists and 1.6 steals in 41.9 minutes per game, shooting 48.6 percent from the field and 81.8 percent from the foul line, and anchoring a withering defense that held Durant and the Russell Westbrook-less Thunder to a paltry 94.3 points per 100 possessions, a mark that would've ranked below the Washington Wizards' league-worst offense during the regular season. He was a star, full stop, on both ends of the floor, and is as big a reason as any why the Grizzlies ousted the West's top seed in five games to advance to the Western Conference finals for the first time in franchise history.
But he also knows just how good his Grizzlies are, that they were supposed to beat the wounded Thunder, and that Memphis' job isn't done yet. His postgame choice of pop-culture touchstone to illustrate that knowledge was pretty amazing, according to ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne:
This was a very big night for the Grizzlies. It wasn't the last night, though.
"It's not time to do that yet," Gasol said firmly. "To me it's not time to congratulate everybody.
"I'm a big Quentin Tarantino fan. There's this line [in 'Pulp Fiction'] from Wolf — which I can't say in front of you guys — when they [finish] cleaning the car up. He says, 'Let's not do that yet.'
"We're still in the process. We're still not there yet."
In the event that you have somehow made it through the last 19 years without watching or hearing about the specific scene from "Pulp Fiction" that Gasol's referencing, and you are the kind of insane person who gets upset about spoilers from movies that literally came out more than one decade ago — yes, such people exist, and my pet name for them is My Wife With Regard To "The Usual Suspects," Which Is Kind Of Infuriating Because We Literally Own It — I won't spell the reference out here. Also, I would probably get fired if I did, because as Marc notes, the line spoken by Harvey Keitel's Winston Wolfe is really, really NSFW. You can watch the scene in question here, if you are a consenting adult with headphones and/or there's nobody who'd get mad around.
All hail Bradley Beal! The Wizards' rookie proved to be a good-luck charm, as the Wizards have moved up to the No. 3 selection in the 2013 NBA Draft.
What are the chances the Washington Wizards get lucky tonight? We run down the numbers.
Let's do this, Wizards.
There's some noise that the Washington Wizards will and/or should trade their first-round pick in order to get more veteran help. No matter what happens in the lottery, this should not be the Wizards' default position.
Next up in our series of draft profiles is Trey Burke out of Michigan, lauded as the best point guard in the draft. Should the Wizards get creative and consider the Wooden Award winner even with John Wall on the roster?
Let us know by submitting a url: