Cavs lottery pick? Expect it to be made in mid-October. We think.

Sam Amico

A few questions remain about the Cleveland Cavaliers and the lousy record they worked so hard to achieve.

Namely, when is the lottery? Where will they pick in the draft? And when is the actual draft, anyway?

Yeah, um, no one knows.

But let's start with the rest of the season. The Cavs aren't expected to finish it. If the NBA moves forward with commissioner Adam Silver's reported plans to resume, only a maximum of 22 of the 30 teams will march on.

That would eliminate the team in the 29th position -- which just happens to be Cleveland.

The Cavs were much better after coach J.B. Bickerstaff took over for John Beilein. They just played harder under Bickerstaff. His personality didn't grate on them like Beilein's did (here's looking at you, Kevin Love).

They were playing hard, playing smart and playing with a purpose. They even won sometimes, a rarity when LeBron James isn't around, compiling a 5-6 mark under Bickerstaff. 

You could make a strong case that it was the Cavs' best stretch of the season.

And then ... poof. It all vanished, the coronavirus pandemic shutting down the globe.

Now, it's another year of looking for nothing but some dumb luck in the lottery. 

When is the lottery?

Again, that is a question with no answer. All we know for sure at the moment is it wasn't in May, when it was originally scheduled to take place.

Right now, it's a lot of guessing, with just a few solid reports. We do know the commissioner has a plan, or at least something resembling a plan. He is expected to propose it to team owners in a conference call Thursday, and they are expected to vote.

If it's approved, ESPN reported the season very well could look like this:

1. Training camps start sometime around the middle to end of this month at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Every team invited to finish the season will hold practice there.

2. Again, teams such as the Golden State Warriors and Cavs will only be able to dream about getting to hang out with Mickey Mouse. Those teams will be left behind, and left to dream about next year.

3. Ah yes, the Warriors (15-50) and Cavs (19-46). They own the league's two worst records. And to think the Warriors have made five straight trips to the Finals. And the Cavs recently made four, winning the title in 2016. Hard to believe both franchises are where they are today. 

4. Anyway, ESPN reported a play-in tournament and the playoffs will take place in Orlando, barring any unforeseen circumstances. A few "regular-season" warmup games could happen first. It's all expected to tip off July 31.

5. According to ESPN, under Silver's plan, Oct. 12 would be the last possible day of the season -- or a Game 7 of the Finals, if necessary.

Then, finally, we would get to the draft. It's generally held five to six days after the final day for a Finals game. So if all of this holds true, the Cavs will be making their pick sometime in the Oct. 17-18 range. 

But for those keeping track at home, Oct. 17 just happens to fall on a Saturday. 

Now, keep in mind, if sports does in fact begin again, college football owns Saturdays in October. I highly doubt Silver and the NBA will want to conduct their biggest offseason event on that day.

Nor would they want to go head-to-head with the NFL on Sunday ... or Thursday ... or Monday.

We will know more after Silver's call with the team owners, but for now, let's just assume the draft will take place no sooner than Oct. 14, a couple days after the last possible day of the season.

So what about the lottery?

Well, that can actually happen anytime, or as soon as the league determines what will become of the non-playoff contenders.

If the season really does tip off July 31, expect the lottery to be held in August, or September at the latest. Again, I'm thinking the NBA will want to get it out of the way before football arrives.

Eventually, the Cavs will make a pick and add to their young nucleus of Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, Kevin Porter Jr. and a few others. Free agency will follow, when we find out what happens next for Tristan Thompson and Andre Drummond, and whether or not Matthew Dellavedova spends next season playing professionally in Australia.

But no matter who plays where, think about this -- Cleveland's pro basketball team may not have another actual game until late December, when the 2020-21 season is expected to begin.

For now, though, all the Cavs can do is wait, wonder and dream that lottery drawings and draft picks aren't their greatest hope for forever.

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