After dropping 13 of its last 14 games and going 22-50 in a regular season loaded with injuries, Cleveland lost a tiebreaker on Tuesday to Oklahoma City and will have the No. 5 position in next month’s draft lottery, one spot below the Thunder.
The teams finished with identical records this season, prompting a “coin flip” that didn’t go the Cavs’ way. The drawings were conducted by NBA executive vice president Kiki VanDeWeghe at the league office in Secaucus, New Jersey, and overseen by the accounting firm Ernst & Young.
The league decided five other teams among those with identical regular-season records: Chicago (31-41) won a tiebreaker with New Orleans and Sacramento; Charlotte (33-39) won a tiebreaker with San Antonio; New York Knicks (41-31) won a tiebreaker with Atlanta; Dallas Mavericks won a tiebreaker with the Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers; and the Clippers (47-25) won a tiebreaker with Denver.
The draft lottery is set for June 22. The draft is July 29.
Cleveland’s odds for getting the No. 1 overall pick and perhaps a franchise-changing player like it did with LeBron James nearly 20 years ago didn’t change with the tiebreaker.
Both the Cavs and Thunder will have an 11.5% percent chance of winning the lottery — something Cleveland did in 2003, 2011, 2013 and 2014. Oklahoma City now has a 7.4% percent chance of picking fifth, compared with 2% for the Cavs.
The result also means Cleveland can pick no worse than ninth, and Oklahoma City eighth.
The Cavs have a nice nucleus of young players in guards Collin Sexton, Darius Garland and forward Isaac Okoro, who had a solid rookie season. But the club doesn’t have a bona fide star to build around and is hoping for some luck in the draft.
Houston, which had the league’s worst record at 17-55, will have the best odds of winning the lottery at 14% percent along with Detroit (20-52) and Orlando (21-51).
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