With a 117-92 loss to the Miami Heat on Wednesday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ NBA-worst record fell to 8-30. The defeat also marked the Cavs’ seventh straight loss, marking their longest losing streak since the 2012-13 season.
Barring anything unforeseen in the second half of the season, Cleveland will be one of the three teams with the best odds of landing the No. 1 overall pick at the NBA Draft Lottery this May. Under the lottery’s new system, the teams with the three worst records have a 14 percent chance of landing the top pick.
If one NBA analyst has his way, the team that does wind up with the No. 1 overall selection this spring won’t be the Cavs.
Discussing the draft on the most recent episode of his podcast, Bill Simmons made it clear he’s rooting against Cleveland being awarded the No. 1 pick, which it would presumably use to take Duke freshman forward Zion Williamson. The Ringer founder and CEO even went as so far as to joke that if the Cavs did win the draft lottery, he’d exit the sports media landscape.
“If Cleveland wins the lottery and gets Zion, I’m quitting sports,” Simmons told Ringer NBA writer Kevin O’Connor on ‘The Bill Simmons Podcast.’ “I’m just done. I’m out. The Ringer turns into a pop culture site, you’re going to have to look for a new job. I’m done. If Cleveland wins the f—ing lottery again, I’m done. I’m done with all professional sports, I’m out.”
“I think, Zion in Cleveland…” O’Connor began.
“They do not deserve Zion!” Simmons continued.
Simmons went on to proclaim that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert was “born on third base,” citing Cleveland victories in the 2003 and 2011 lotteries, which led to it drafting LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, respectively. But while the Cavs have been undeniably successful in the lottery under Gilbert, it’s worth noting that he didn’t purchase the team until 2005.
Simmons’ disdain for Cleveland’s lottery luck has been well documented. After the Cavs won the lottery in 2014 — which marked the third time in four years it had done so — Simmons, then an analyst for ESPN, memorably called for a change to the lottery format.
“We need new rules. We just need new rules,” a clearly agitated Simmons said during a pregame broadcast of an Eastern Conference Finals game between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers. “This is the most incompetent team of the last four years. They hired [head coach] Mike Brown with a five-year deal and fired him after one. They made all these mistakes. They screwed up some of their other picks and then they get rewarded with the No. 1 again.
“I just think like, enough. We’re sorry LeBron left Cleveland, but enough with the karma for Cleveland.”
Should the Cavs indeed win the lottery again this spring, it seems likely Simmons would share a similar sentiment. Then again, if he stays true to his word, he won’t be talking about it — or any sports, for that matter.