NEW YORK — The Cleveland Cavaliers continued their remarkable lottery luck Tuesday, winning the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft for the second straight year.
It’s the third time in four years the Cavs will be atop the draft after moving up from the ninth spot. They had just a 1.7 percent chance of winning the top selection.
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.
Even changing up their lottery representative couldn’t change the Cavs’ luck. 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 was carrying one of Nick Gilbert’s bowties, and it 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.
“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.”
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 a number of teams were tanking in hopes of getting a high pick. But the Cavs entered this season with playoff expectations, hoping a strong season could make them attractive to LeBron James if he was interested in returning home as a free agent.