The Cavs won the NBA Draft Lottery -- but did Wiggins and Embiid lose it?
Cleveland. Milwaukee. Philadelphia. Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid are about to become very rich, each plying his trade, almost certainly, for one of these sad-sack NBA franchises. Basketball-wise, prepare to be miserable, Jayhawkers.
Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins are now in a 'friendly competition' to be the Cavs' No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft.
AP/USA TODAY Sports
By Sean Keeler
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Hope you took a picture of Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid on Tuesday night, side by side in their tailored suits, sharper than a pair of Hattori Hanzo swords, twin pillars of sunshine.
It might be the last time we see them smiling like that for a good, long while.
Other than the screams across social media that the whole thing was rigged like the 1919 World Series, another NBA Draft Lottery went off without a hitch. Doomed teams gathered to restock their wooden ships with the fresh young souls of tomorrow, charged with the task of making them obscenely wealthy while simultaneously robbing them of the best damn years of their lives.
But, hey, on the plus side, they got to meet Dr. J.
This might be the most interesting NBA Draft in a while locally, especially considering that Kansas City is closing in on three decades without an NBA team of its own to speak of. It's purely provincial: By most accounts, Kansas, Missouri and Wichita State are expected to make up five of the first 45 picks off the board. More pertinently, it's because the ex-Jayhawk freshman duo of Wiggins and Embiid will likely comprise, in some order, two of the top three selections.
Happy for them. Happy for their families. We're talking about solid young men who should be set for life.
Mind you, there's a damn good chance they'll also be miserable, in the short term, basketball-wise.
Once the lottery balls were done doing their little lottery ball dance, the great Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics conspiracy (or conspiracy hypothetical) never materialized. Which meant a collection of fairly non-storied, non-sexy franchises will get the first shot of taking a Rock Chalk Walk.
Cleveland has the No.1 pick, its third in four years (hello, Twitter meltdown) and its second in a row. Over that same span, the Cavaliers have averaged 24 wins while churning through three coaches -- including a second run with Mike Brown, whom they just let go -- and two general managers.
But, hey, on the plus side, Johnny Manziel.
Lookin' good! CLICK HERE to check out our gallery of cheerleaders from around the Big 12.
Denny Medley / USA TODAY Sports
Milwaukee has the No. 2 pick. The Bucks need -- well, everything, from a new arena on down. But there's also the perception that Wisconsin has become the NBA's new graveyard, a place where coaches and players vanish from the face of the Earth, never to be seen again -- not nationally, anyway.
"What the Clippers used to be, that's what the Bucks are now," an NBA GM recently told Mark Heisler in a piece for Forbes.com. "The place every agent says, 'I don't want my player there.'"
But, hey, on the plus side, Spotted Cow.
Philadelphia has the No. 3 pick and just about anything other than rookie guard Michael Carter-Williams is considered expendable. The Sixers also lost 26 games in a row at one point last winter, tying an NBA record for God-awful futility.
To put that little number in perspective, the Jayhawks have lost exactly 26 games since October 2010.
But, hey, on the plus side, did we mention Dr. J? Julius Freaking Erving!
So ... who wants to go first?
"It's competition, but it's friendly competition," Wiggins told ESPN's Heather Cox. "We both have love for each other. If I don't go No. 1, I hope (Joel) goes No. 1 ... so it's all just family here. We both hope to get the No. 1 pick. And hopefully, wherever we go, we do a lot of damage wherever we're at, and have a successful career."
Hopefully. Cleveland offers a chance to play with a big-time point guard in Kyrie Irving, so there's that. Philadelphia will either love you forever or shred you like a pack of Dobermans.
Milwaukee promises ... ummmm ... low expectations. And maybe, just maybe, a hook-up for some good seats at Lambeau. At least Wiggins and Embiid are already pals with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, one of several A-list celebrity types to have passed through Allen Fieldhouse over the last six months.
"I mean, I can bring my shot-blocking ability," Embiid told Cox. "I think I'll have a good offensive game and be able to get rebounds like I did in college. And it'll be fun."
Not as much fun as you'd think, kiddo. Not as much fun as you'd think.
You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter at @seankeeler or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.