The 2011 NBA Draft Lottery is in the books, and the Cleveland Cavaliers have won the top spot in June's Draft. Whether or not they take Duke point guard Kyrie Irving, Arizona's Derrick Williams or someone else has yet to be decided, but they can already be declared the winners of a night that affected the fortunes of 13 franchises. But the Draft Lottery also featured other winners (and losers), so let's take a look at what transpired behind the scenes:
Cleveland Cavaliers - Perhaps it's obvious to name them and reference losing LeBron James over the last year. But the declaration of "winner" goes far beyond that. Even in a draft that many believe is weak overall, there are still two impact players they can acquire with the first and fourth overall selections in the draft, using their own pick and the one acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers in the mid-season Baron Davis trade. For the Cavs to be able to potentially walk away from the June draft with a Kyrie Irving in the backcourt and Enes Kanter (or Kemba Walker and Derrick Williams, et al) is a dream scenario in one off-season.
Utah Jazz - Again, this is obvious since any team that moves up from No. 6 in overall odds to land the No. 3 overall selection is automatically a winner. But in a draft void of several impact players, even the fall from No. 3 to No. 6 features a degree of risk that's rather great. Instead, the Jazz can sit back and wait for the Cavs and Wolves to make their selections and pick up the best player that falls to them. It's impossible at this point to tell who might be available here, but with another choice at No. 12 perhaps the Jazz will be willing to roll the dice on a high-upside player knowing another solid rookie can be added a bit later. Even better, perhaps they parlay both to move up and take the one guy they want most.
Sacramento Kings - For a franchise in need of any good news, the news of falling to the No. 7 overall selection has to be disappointing. The Kings need a shot in the arm for a team that might be moving, yet at No. 7 they'll likely be choosing between good-but-not-great college players or a risk from overseas like Jan Vesely. The value could still be there, but several NBA fans were hoping for good news for the Sacramento area.
Minnesota Timberwolves - There's one spot on the floor that the Timberwolves need the most help with and it's the one player they probably won't be able to take. After wasting two top six picks on Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn, the Wolves are still without a quality point guard to distribute to scorers like Michael Beasley or an inside presence like Kevin Love. Now, they'll most likely watch the Cavs take Irving off the board and leave them wanting for another year.
Check out more on the NBA Draft Lottery here.