- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 20, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - The Cleveland Cavaliers’ lottery luck just keeps going.

The Cavaliers continued their remarkable run Tuesday, winning the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft for the second straight year and third time in the last four. They moved up from the ninth spot, when they had just a 1.7 percent chance of winning the top selection.

“It seems surreal,” Cavs vice chairman Jeff Cohen said. “This is three out of four years and we had a 1.7 percent chance of coming up with the first pick and we pulled it off again.”

They drafted Kyrie Irving first in 2011 and will hope to do better with this win than last year, when they took Anthony Bennett, who had a forgettable rookie season.


Nick Gilbert, the son of Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert, was on the podium for the previous two wins, but general manager David Griffin was there this time.

Griffin had a pin on his lapel from his late grandmother and was carrying one of Nick Gilbert’s bowties, which was as lucky in his breast pocket as it was with Nick wearing it.

The Cavs can now choose among the likes of Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid of Kansas, Duke’s Jabari Parker, or another player from what’s considered a deep draft.

“This means everything,” Cohen said. “This is the deepest draft arguably since LeBron (James) and Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony came out.”

The Cavs won that one, too, in 2003, when they picked James. But they have been lottery regulars since he bolted for Miami in 2010, and they want that to stop.

“Rebuilding is a process and we lost a player a number of years back that it was going (to take) some time. Quite frankly it’s taken a little bit longer then we’d like, but we’ve been patient,” Cohen said.

“I think now is the time we’re going to reap the rewards of our patience.”

The Milwaukee Bucks fell one spot to second and the Philadelphia 76ers will draft third. The Bucks had a 25 percent chance of winning after a league-worst 15-67 record, but the team with the best odds hasn’t won since 2004.

The expected strength of the class led to speculation that teams were tanking in hopes of getting a high pick. But the Cavs had playoff expectations, hoping a strong season could make them attractive to James if he was interested in returning home as a free agent.

Nick Gilbert said last year he expected the Cavs to be done with the lottery, but they were right back in Times Square after a disappointing season that resulted in them firing Mike Brown after just one year and a 33-49 record in his second stint with the team. Another top selection surely will make Cleveland more attractive to prospective coaches.

The city of Cleveland may be on a 50-year championship drought, but sure does have this lottery thing figured out.

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