The Clippers took a calculated gamble, essentially selling their 2011 first-round draft pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers for salary cap relief in February in the Baron Davis trade, and that pick ended up as the number one overall draft pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. With the eighth-worst record in the NBA, the Clippers' pick had a 2.8% chance of being drawn number one in Tuesday's NBA Draft Lottery. The Cavaliers will likely select Duke point guard Kyrie Irving with their top pick.
While it's easy to paint this as classic Clippers' bad luck, that's all that it is: luck. The Clippers made a good choice in trading Davis and their first-round pick for Mo Williams and Jamario Moon at February's trade deadline. The Clippers added $11.8 million of cap space over the next two seasons, as Williams will make $8.5 million in each of the next two years, compared to $13.95 million in 2011-2012 and $14.85 million in 2012-2013 due to Davis.
The Clippers sold their draft pick in a weak draft, and while Irving may indeed be an impact player it's hard to fault the Clippers for not taking the 2.8% chance. The Clippers' first pick is the number 37 overall pick, the seventh selection of the second round. The NBA draft will be held on June 23 in New Jersey.