The Philadelphia 76ers could be the big winners of the 2015 NBA Draft if the ping pong balls bounce their way at the draft lottery Tuesday night.
The 76ers haven’t been subtle about their radical rebuilding plan. They have clearly tanked in hopes of gaining as many draft picks as possible and turning those picks into future superstars.
A dream scenario could unfold Tuesday night that would kickstart the 76ers’ rebuilding plan quicker than many people believed.
While it’s unlikely, there’s a chance the Sixers could have three picks in the top 11. In the best-case scenario, they could have the 1st, 6th, and 11th picks.
In 2014-15, the Sixers finished with the third-worst record in the league. According to Tankathon’s lottery odds chart, that guarantees the Sixers a top-six pick in this year’s lottery. Odds say the Sixers have a 26.5% chance at picking No. 5, 22.6% chance at picking No. 4, and about a 15% chance at each of the top three picks.
As if a top-six pick wasn’t good enough, the Sixers could go home with two extra lottery picks if they get lucky.
Philadelphia could reap the rewards of the disastrous Steve Nash-Lakers trade. The Lakers sent the Suns a top-five protected 2015 first-round pick for Nash in 2012, which the Suns then dealt to the Sixers as part of a three-team trade at this year’s trade deadline. While the Lakers, who had the fifth-worst record in the NBA this season, have a 35% chance at the No. 5 pick, they have a 16% chance at the No. 6 pick. If that pick falls out of the top five, the Lakers lose it, and it goes to the Sixers. There’s a 1.2% chance the pick falls to No. 7.
The odds on the Lakers pick:
- Lakers keep it: 82.8%
- Sixers get it: 6th pick (16%), 7th pick (1.2%)
Similarly, the Sixers also managed to get in on the Kevin Love trade from the summer of 2014. While that deal revolved around the Cavaliers getting Love and the Timberwolves getting Andrew Wiggins, the Sixers sent Thaddeus Young to the Wolves in exchange for the Heat’s top-10 protected 2015 pick, which the Cavaliers had from LeBron James’ 2010 “Decision.”
Much like the Lakers, the Heat finished with the tenth-worst record in the NBA this season, and they have an 87% chance at getting the No. 10 spot. However, if that pick falls out of the top 10, it goes to the Sixers — there’s an 8.9% chance it falls to No. 11 and a 0.2% chance it falls to No. 12.
The odds on the Heat pick:
- Heat keep it: 88.9%
- Sixers get it: 11th pick (8.9%), 12th pick (0.2%)
In an ideal world, the Sixers could end up with the draft picks No. 1, 6, and 11. In a less ideal world, the Sixers will still have a top-six pick of their own, plus the chances at picks No. 6 and 7 and picks No. 11 and 12 (and a very slim chance at No. 13).
The odds on the best-case scenario are slim (~0.2%). The odds of them getting all three picks (~1.5%) aren’t all that much better. But they have given themselves a chance to hit the jackpot with some smart trades.
The Sixers are hoarding assets, and even if they don’t get all three picks, if they can get two, they could be in prime position to get their rebuilding plan moving. They will have Nerlens Noel, the runner-up Rookie of the Year, Joel Embiid, who has looked good as of late, last year’s No. 12 pick Dario Saric, and a handful of lottery picks this season, plus cap space.
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