NEW YORK -- The Cleveland Cavaliers' lottery luck just keeps going.
The Cavaliers continued their remarkable run Tuesday, winning the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft for the second straight year and third time in the past four. They moved up from the ninth spot despite just a 1.7 percent chance of winning the top selection.
"It seems surreal," Cavs vice chairman Jeff Cohen said. "This is three out of four years, and we had a 1.7 percent chance of coming up with the first pick and we pulled it off again."
Nick Gilbert, the son of Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert, was on the podium for the previous two wins, but general manager David Griffin was there this time.
Griffin had a pin on his lapel from his late grandmother and was carrying one of Nick Gilbert's bowties, which was as lucky in his breast pocket as it was with Nick wearing it.
Irving took to Twitter to comment on his team's good fortune.
Luck of the Ping pong balls...Very exciting!!!- Kyrie Irving (@KyrieIrving) May 21, 2014
The Cavs won that one, too, in 2003, when they picked James. But they have been lottery regulars since he bolted for Miami in 2010, and they want that to stop.
"Rebuilding is a process, and we lost a player a number of years back that it was going [to take] some time. Quite frankly it's taken a little bit longer than we'd like, but we've been patient," Cohen said.
"I think now is the time we're going to reap the rewards of our patience."
The Milwaukee Bucks fell one spot to second, and the Philadelphia 76ers will draft third. The Bucks had a 25 percent chance of winning after a league-worst 15-67 record, but the team with the best odds hasn't won since 2004.
The expected strength of the class led to speculation that teams were tanking in hopes of getting a high pick. But the Cavs had playoff expectations, hoping a strong season could make them attractive to James if he was interested in returning home as a free agent.
Nick Gilbert said last year he expected the Cavs to be done with the lottery, but they were right back in Times Square after a disappointing season that resulted in them firing Mike Brown after just one year and a 33-49 record in his second stint with the team. Another top selection surely will make Cleveland more attractive to prospective coaches.
The city of Cleveland might be on a 50-year championship drought, but it has this lottery thing figured out.
The 2011 win was also a stunner, when the Cavs moved up from the No. 8 spot with a pick they had acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers.
And by moving up this year, they hurt the Detroit Pistons, who started eighth but by falling back had to trade the pick to Charlotte as part of a deal for Ben Gordon.