The Philadelphia 76ers dream scenario at the 2015 NBA Draft Lottery didn’t come true Tuesday night.
While the 76ers did get the No. 3 pick, they missed out on the Lakers’ pick, which was top-five protected (it landed No. 2), and the Heat’s pick, which was top-10 protected (it landed No. 10).
Had those picks fallen outside of the top five and the top 10, respectively, the Sixers would have taken home three lottery picks this year.
However, that doesn’t mean the 76ers forfeit the rights to those picks. In 2016, the Sixers will once again have the chance at several first-rounders, some of them possibly falling in the lottery.
The Sixers will once again have their own pick, and barring a free agency spending spree and big turnaround next year, it figures to be a lottery pick once again.
The Lakers pick that was top-five protected this season will only be top-three protected next year. With the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft, the return of last year’s No. 7 pick Julius Randle, and lots of cap space, the Lakers figure to be better next season, meaning it’s unlikely that their pick will fall in the top three. In a crowded Western Conference, however, the Lakers still might not be good enough to make the playoffs, so it seems likely that the Sixers will get that pick, even if it’s later in the lottery.
- Lands top 3: Lakers pick
- Lands outside of top 3: Sixers pick
Similarly, the Miami pick is still top-10 protected next season. Miami nearly made the playoffs this year before falling apart at the end of the season. They, too, could benefit from the No. 10 pick in this year’s draft, plus the return of Chris Bosh, who missed the final two months of the season with blood clots in his lungs. The Heat figure to contend once again for a playoff spot, and if they make it, that pick will fall out of the top 10 and transfer to the Sixers.
- Lands top 10: Heat pick
- Lands outside of top 10: Sixers pick
Philadelphia also made another crafty move at this year’s trade deadline by taking on JaVale McGee’s salary for an extra draft pick, which comes from the Oklahoma City Thunder and is top-15 protected in 2015-16, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. It’s less certain, but if the Thunder return to championship form next year, they’d likely be a high seed and get a pick in the late 20s. If it lands outside of No. 15, the Sixers get it.
- Lands top 15: Thunder pick
- Lands outside of top 15: Sixers pick
While the 76ers get criticised for so blatantly tanking, their plan of collecting assets is borderline genius. They’re hardly spending money during these seasons, and if they draft right, they will come away with cheap, talented young players, plus cap space to fill in the rest of the holes.
The 2015 draft wasn’t Philly’s year, but 2016 could see them go home with four first-round picks.
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