By Jim Brighters, NBA Editor
(Sports Network) - For the second time in three years, the Cleveland Cavaliers struck gold and won the NBA Draft Lottery.
Two years ago, the Cavs selected Kyrie Irving and a franchise point guard was in the grips. They selected Tristan Thompson fourth in the same draft, made Dion Waiters the fourth pick in last year's draft and are now in position to add another significant addition.
With all of these high choices, the Cavs still need a lot of work.
Anderson Varejao was having a career season before going down with a knee injury and a blood clot in his lung. He is still a capable big man, but the prize of this draft is at the center spot.
Nerlens Noel will most likely be tabbed with the first pick in the NBA Draft. The freshman center from Kentucky is a defensive force waiting to happen, although he'll need to continue rehabbing his torn ACL. Noel is thin, but should help a defensive unit that finished dead last in opponents' field-goal percentage.
But, center isn't as immediate a need as small-forward. Alonzo Gee started all season and is solid, yet unspectacular. Otto Porter, Jr. from Georgetown will walk into the NBA as a tailor-made three man, but is he worth taking with the No. 1 overall pick? Probably not, which means Noel makes the most sense.
The Cavaliers, who hired back Mike Brown as head coach, also own the 19th pick in the draft and could go with an unheralded foreigner like big man Rudy Gobert, who measured a 9-foot-7 standing reach at the combine, which means he can almost dunk a ball standing still. Lucas Noguiera of Brazil, Russian Sergey Karasev, or Greece's Giannis Antetokounmpo might make sense.
If Cleveland went small with the first pick, Kelly Olynyk from Gonzaga, Gorgui Dieng from Louisville, Mason Plumlee of Duke, or Pitt's Steven Adams are solid centers.
If Cleveland takes Noel as expected, Tony Mitchell, a power forward from North Texas, could be the target at 19.
Players under contract: G: Kyrie Irving; G: Dion Waiters; G: C.J. Miles; G: Chris Quinn; F: Tristan Thompson; F: Kevin Jones; F: Alonzo Gee; C: Anderson Varejao; C: Tyler Zeller; F: Mareese Speights (player option)
Free agents: F: Luke Walton; G: Daniel Gibson; F: Omri Casspi (restricted); G: Wayne Ellington (restricted); G: Shaun Livingston
Recent Draft History: 2012: Dion Waiters (4), Jared Cunningham (24), Bernard James (33), Jae Crowder (34)
2011: Kyrie Irving (1), Tristan Thompson (4), Justin Harper (32), Milan Macvan (54)
2010: No picks
2009: Christian Eyenga (30), Daniel Green (46)
2008: J.J. Hickson (19)
Draft picks: 1st round (1st overall, 19th overall), 2nd round (31st overall, 33rd overall)
06/24 10:18:55 ET