76ers: The Most Important Day of the Year, the NBA Draft Lottery.

The 76ers have been banking on luck for the past three years, and luck has not been on the Philadelphia 76ers side. The past two years the 76ers have recieved the 3rd overall pick in the draft, causing them to draft back to back injury prone big men. Although I am extremely excited for Joel Embiid to play for the 76ers at some point, part of me doubts to longevity of his career and his ability to stay healthy. Jahlil Okafor, has proven he has undeniable talent, but we are years away from seeing him reach the height of his potential.

 

Past Drafts –

The 2014 NBA Draft Lottery is the sole reason that the 76ers have an injured Joel Embiid, who 13834930-27f5-11e5-967a-c1364bd418c0_joelembiid_711has never seen the court, rather than Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker. People can argue that taking a one-year college athlete from Cameroon with injury problems was foolish, to those people there is only one argument back “you always take the best player on the board.” Embiid was the obvious pick to make, and his injuries have been devastating, but he has the potential to be a great player in this league. 

The 2015 NBA Draft Lottery is the difference between having Jahlil Okafor, or having D’Angelo Russell or Karl-Anthony Towns, this drop off is not as tragic because all four of the top four draft picks have essentially panned out on the court. Jahlil Okafor, if he remained healthy would’ve put up a good fight for Rookie of the Year, but he only played 53 games this season opposed to Karl-Anthony Towns who played in every single game this season, while averaging a double-double. Karl-Anthony Towns is an out right lock for Rookie of the Year. 

This 2016 Draft –

The only reason that the 2014 Draft Lottery hurt this team so much, is the fact that Joel Embiid has never played a minute of basketball. This 2016 NBA Draft could be especiallyDURHAM, NC - DECEMBER 15: Brandon Ingram #14 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts after a play during their game against the Georgia Southern Eagles at Cameron Indoor Stadium on December 15, 2015 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

devastating to the 76ers if they do not get a top two pick. The obvious draft picks this draft are Brandon Ingram and Ben Simmons, whether you’re a Simmons person or an Ingram person, there is little to no dispute that these are the top two picks. There is no general consensus on who will go third, fourth or fifth. All sources have some combination of Kris Dunn, Jamal Murray, Dragan Bender, and Buddy Hield. A mock draft ran by CBS Sports placed the 76ers with the 4th overall pick drafting Jamal Murray, which would be a sad defeat for the Sixers, proving that tanking was a mistake and that luck is not in favor of Philadelphia. Bleacher Report on the other hand has the 76ers drafting first overall and selecting Brandon Ingram, which would be a triumphant victory for the 76ers.

Odds for the First Overall Pick –

Philadelphia 76ers – 25%
Los Angeles Lakers – 19.9%
Boston Celtics – 15.6% (via Brooklyn Nets)
Phoenix Suns – 11.9%
Minnesota Timberwolves – 8.8%
New Orleans Pelicans – 6.3%
Denver Nuggets – 4.3% (via New York Knicks)
Toronto Raptors – 1.9% (via Denver Nuggets)
Sacramento Kings – 1.9%
Milwaukee Bucks – 1.8%
Orlando Magic – .8%
Utah Jazz – .7%
Phoenix Suns – .6% (via Washington Wizards)
Chicago Bulls – .5%

As a 76ers fan I would not be comfortable with that 25% until the 76ers name is called. The 76ers can be a little more comfortable with the added 1.9% that the Sacramento Kings gave us as a part of the Nik Stauskas salary dump trade. The 76ers retain the right to swap picks with the Kings under the circumstance that they have a better pick than the Sixers. I don’t know a single person who would be comfortable with a 26.9% chance of anything, but it’s the best possible scenario. In 2015 the Cavaliers won the draft lottery with just a 1.7% chance, the Bulls landed Derrick Rose with a 1.7% chance in 2008, and the Cavs also owned the LA Clippers pick in 2011 that turned into Kyrie Irving which only had a 2.8% chance. Anything can happen in the NBA Draft Lottery.

Optimism –

Often times my sense of cynicism and doubt about the 76ers luck and their future have shined through in my articles, but thanks to Sam Hinkie we actually have a safety net if the NBA Draft Lottery goes wrong. Here is the Best Case Scenario:

76ers land the First Overall Pick
Lakers get the 4th Overall Pick – given to the 76ers
76ers draft 24th Overall – via Miami Heat
76ers draft 26th Overall – via OKC Thunder
Retain the rights to Swap with the Kings for 2017
Dario Saric comes to Philadelphia
Joel Embiid debuts

What a beautiful work of art that would be, it would attract free agents to Philadelphia, and finally get the 76ers back into relevance. Let it be mentioned that this team currently has 4 players that were drafted in the top 10 the last three years in Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, Nik Stauskas, and Jahlil Okafor. With a young talented team, growth is inevitable. This “Best Case Scenario” could propel the 76ers back into contention within a few years. We must all remember to stay logical and reasonable 26.9% chance that the 76ers draft first overall.

The Draft Lottery is on May 17, 2016. 

– @JPetersTSR