At the 2011 NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night the Cleveland Cavaliers were seen as the big winners, with the pick they acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers jumping from eighth all the way up to the top spot. Also coming up with a big move were the Utah Jazz, taking the pick they got from the New Jersey Nets in return for Deron Williams and going from six to three despite just a 9.39% chance of that happening.
Both the Cavs and Jazz are winners for sure, but the biggest of the night?
That honor belongs to Billy King, Mikhail Prokhorov and the Nets. After all, there is only one team that is guaranteed to turn their 2011 first-round pick into a top 10 NBA player and that is New Jersey with Williams.
Don't get me wrong, the fans in Cleveland should be excited about building their future around Duke point guard Kyrie Irving, and the same goes for the folks in Utah who have two of the top 12 picks in the draft. However, there's no doubt that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert would happily send the first overall pick to the Garden State for Williams, and the same goes for the Jazz if they knew their former point guard would stay in town.
So before you start whining about the Nets not protecting their pick this year, remember that at the end of the day New Jersey has a player better than anyone coming out of this draft class.
Plus, the Clippers make the Williams trade look even better as they have to watch the point guard they desperately need go to the Cavaliers with nothing to show for it. Well, that's not completely true... they have Mo Williams and Jamario Moon.