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Posted at 08:45 AM ET, 05/18/2011

NBA draft lottery: Nick Gilbert steals Kyrie Irving’s show

He appeared in all of 11 games at Duke because of a toe injury, but Kyrie Irving is likely to be the No. 1 pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA draft next month.

Seems perfect. Cleveland, the city jilted by LeBron James, would get a player loaded with character and talent with the top pick, as well as the No. 4 pick. “Irving isn’t a savior,” Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnaroski writes, “but he can be a worthy heir to the generation of Russell Westbrooks and Rajon Rondos. Perhaps Cleveland truly hit the lottery and found itself an MVP, a Derrick Rose, a Chris Paul. For now, Irving’s body of work is too limited to prematurely cast him in those molds, but make no mistake: He’s a godsend in a draft with so few difference makers.”

See? Perfect. Maybe just a little too perfect? Minnesota Timberwolves General Manager David Kahn joked about that Tuesday night. (In a USA Today poll, 65 percent of respondents were presumably not joking when they said the fix is either always in or occasionally in with the lottery.)

“This league has a habit, and I am just going to say habit, of producing some pretty incredible story lines,” he said, via the AP. Last year it was Abe Pollin’s widow and this year it was a 14-year-old boy [Nick Gilbert, the son of Cavs owner Dan Gilbert] and the only thing we have in common is we have both been bar mitzvahed. We wee done. I told [Utah Jazz GM Kevin O’Connor, ‘We’re toast. This is not happening for us.’ And I was right.”

Of course, it wasn’t happening. Not with Nick Gilbert, the son of Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, repping the Cavs. Just as Irene Pollin did for the Wizards in 2010, he came through big-time. Nick Gilbert, 14, was born with a nerve disorder that causes tumors to grow and just how great was he Tuesday night? His name trended on Twitter the instant he was introduced

Dan Gilbert calls Nick his hero and Nick was asked how that feels. “Well, I mean, what’s not to like? I’m the oldest of five. I have a good life,” he said. “I’m going through this disease [neurofibromatosis], but I’m going through it well, I’m getting better. Research is [helping] with all the money people are donating. Yeah, everything’s going good.”

Nick’s dad, Dan, said: “I guess you couldn’t do any better than this. I guess you could [get] 1 and 2 [after the Baron Davis trade], but we’ll take 1 and 4.” He wasn’t tipping his hand about the No. 1 pick, but most mock drafts have Irving headed for Cleveland, barring those dreaded “unforeseen circumstances.” Irving attended the lottery in Secacus, N.J., and greeted Nick and the Gilberts afterward, but don’t read too much into that, either. Irving isn’t taking anything for granted. “I live 20 minutes from here,” he said. ”It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

And Nick Gilbert’s show.

Correction: The tweet earlier cited was not from Bill Walton’s account. Apologies.

By  |  08:45 AM ET, 05/18/2011

 
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