As I type this, it has been 80 minutes since the Cleveland Cavs won the #1 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. I am from Cleveland and I love the Cavs. I once stood behind Zydrunas Ilgauskas at a Baskin Robbins ice cream and gave him a fist bump. It was awesome.
As Ballerball’s resident Cavs fan, it has been 78 minutes since our editor-in-chief gave me the (much welcomed) assignment of covering this development for the site. During that time I’ve weighed something in the neighborhood of 100 ways to present my thoughts on our unexpected good luck this evening. But my thoughts are scattered. Really scattered. Questions and hypotheticals race through my brain. One second I’m asking myself “I wonder where I’ll be when we win the championship!? I hope I’m there in person!” then moments later saying to myself “Chad Ford said some scouts see vintage Russell in Noel’s defense, right? I’m not making that up, am I?” then, a mere instant after that, “Does this merit a Papa John’s order??”
Eventually, it occurred to me, herein lies the beauty of nights like this. There is no coherence when you win a draft lottery. There is just messy, unbridled joyous optimism. (And guilt-free pizza!)
So, I’m going to embrace the mayhem. As such, here are five stray observations from the delirious mind of an overjoyed Cavs fan on the occasion of winning the #1 overall pick.
When the Cavs win the 2018 NBA title (see how I used “when”!), will they rename Quicken Loans Arena, “The House That Ernst & Young Built*”? If they do, can I get credit for that joke? If they don’t, can I still get credit for that joke?
*This would of course be short for the arena’s formal title: “The House That the Independent Auditing Firm of Ernst & Young Built”
It’s funny to me that so many fans in their 20s have no idea what winning a draft lottery feels like (I’m looking at you Kings, Suns, Lakers, Celtics, Hawks, and TWolves faithful, among others). This is my third trip to the rodeo, which, aside from Orlando fans, makes me a foremost expert (and until I actually meet a bona fide Magic fan, I refuse to blindly accept the notion that they exist. Who are you? How have I met none of you?? Show yourselves!).
As such, you all know nothing of “The Backtrack.” This is where you and your friends have to try to pretend that all the ridiculous, stupid, inane complete and utter nonsense you’ve said over the past month never happened. Stuff like, “I’d probably take Otto Porter over Noel anyways.” Or, “You mean, Ben McLeLess?!” Or, “Nerlens Nolowokandi!? No thanks!” The Backtrack is great.
I wonder what actually winning something real (like a title) feels like and how it compares to this*. This is all I’ve ever won. What do titles feel like? Do they feel better than this? How much? Will I ever know??
In my head, I feel like winning the draft lottery 3 times in 10 years is like having three amazing first kisses while never experiencing any other “bases.” I apologize for the crude analogy, but you get my drift. It’s a Groundhog Day kind of thing.
- Nick Gilbert has to go down as one of the all-time greatest Cavs right?? To win the lottery twice in three years?? Pretty amazing! For the record, here’s my list (excluding LeBron. Still too soon):
1. Mark Price
2. Brad Daugherty
3. Zydrunas Ilgauskas
4. Larry Nance
5. Nick Gilbert
6. Lenny Wilkens
7. Terrell Brandon
130. Larry Hughes
814. Vitaly Potapenko
Last. Darius Miles
The sad reality for the Cavs, as always, is that tomorrow morning, if you stopped the average Clevelander on the street and asked them who they’d like to see the team draft, they’d almost certainly respond: “The kid from Louisville! The quarterback! Bridgewater or whatever his name is! That kid can sling it! Did you see him rip up Florida in the Sugar Bowl?? Wow! Anyone but Weeden, though! I’m sorry, what’d you say again?”