There were no miracles for the Milwaukee Bucks at the annual NBA Draft Lottery in Secaucus, New Jersey, though the ping-pong balls weren't altogether unkind to the rest of the Midwest. A year after hitting rock bottom with the departure of LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers snagged the first overall pick ahead of the Minnesota Timberwolves, giving Dan Gilbert and the Cavs first dibs on Duke point guard and presumptive number one pick Kyrie Irving. Starting the draft at the number six spot, the Utah Jazz claimed the third overall pick and like the Cavs (#1 and #4) will have two lottery picks (#3 and #12).
Milwaukee had an 87% chance of ending up with the tenth overall selection and got just that, leaving the Bucks in the same position they were in two years ago when they selected Brandon Jennings. The Bucks will also have the 40th overall pick (tenth in the second round), which was not dependent on the lottery results.
The first surprise of the night came when Cleveland's name didn't come up at number eight--the pick they acquired from the Clippers in exchange for taking on Baron Davis' big contract. With their own pick still to come, Cleveland fans were no doubt hoping to claim a pair of top three picks, but it was not to be as Minnesota (with the worst record in the NBA) and Utah claimed the next two picks.
The draft evaluation process begins in earnest tomorrow with the pre-draft camp in Chicago, with fifty of the draft's top prospects expected to be measured, interviewed and put through light drills over the rest of the week. The lottery results also mean the mock draft season is just beginning, with Colorado's Alec Burks appearing to be the early favorite. A sampling of mocks:
DraftExpress: Marcus Morris, 6'9" / 240 pound / PF, Kansas
Chad Ford/ESPN: Alec Burks, 6'6" / 200 pounds / SG, Colorado
Sporting News: Tristan Thompson, 6'8" / 235 pounds / PF, Texas
HoopsWorld: Jan Vesely, 6'11" / 230 pounds / SF, KK Partizan Belgrade
SB Nation: Burks
Fox Sports Wisconsin: Burks
NBA Draft Insider: Burks