With the Cavaliers loss to the Chicago Bulls, they finished the season with a record of 21-45. That record is good (?) for the third worst record in the NBA, tied with the New Orleans Hornets. Only the Charlotte Bobcats and Washington Wizards had worse records, and therefore have better odds at winning the lottery.
Because the Cavaliers and Hornets have the same record, they will both have a 13.8% chance at winning the lottery and getting the right to draft Anthony Davis out of Kentucky. The Cavaliers also have a 42.4% chance of getting a top three pick, essentially guaranteeing them that they will get one of the top players on their board, Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, and Beal.
On Friday, the NBA held a drawing to break the tie between the Cavaliers and Hornets. The Cavaliers WON the essential coin toss. Now, this does not mean that the Cavaliers have better odds than the Hornets at winning the lottery. Instead, all it means is that if neither team gets selected for a top-3 pick, the Cavaliers are slotted ahead of the Hornets. In other words, the worst possible pick that the Cavs will have this June is the 6th overall pick. If they had lost the coin flip, they could have fallen to 7th.
This may not seem like a huge deal, but to me, it is. In my opinion (which could be changed as I watch more and more film as the draft approaches), there are six really good players in this draft. Those players are Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Thomas Robinson, Harrison Barnes, and Andre Drummond. After that, it gets a bit murky. By having a top-6 pick guaranteed, the Cavaliers can draft one of those players if their board is similar to mine.
Update: The Cavaliers also won the coin flip that determined whether the Lakers pick would be 24th or 25th. Cleveland now owns a top-6 pick and the 24th pick in the draft.
The NBA Draft Lottery takes place on May 30th.