For two seasons, the Philadelphia 76ers have intentionally stayed in the cellar of the NBA with the hope that all those losses would lead them to the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft.
But that plan again failed to pan out Tuesday during the league’s draft lottery, the time before the draft itself when teams learn what order they’ll choose who – they hope – will be the league’s next superstar.
Instead, the struggling Sixers will have just the third overall pick during the NBA draft on June 25.
The team also missed an opportunity, albeit an extremely slim one, to have a total of three, first-round selections.
To Eric Goldwein, editor of Sixers blog Hoop76, it’s not ideal, but it’s also not a catastrophe for the rebuilding team.
“In a draft where I don’t really see one clear-cut, can’t-miss prospect, I don’t think it’s a bad thing,” said Goldwein.
The Sixers still have a shot at getting a top-tier player, of whom there are several this draft, including Duke center Jahlil Okafor, Kentucky forward Karl Anthony-Towns, Ohio State guard D’Angelo Russell and point guard Emmanuel Mudiay.
Any one of them could be a good addition to a team that currently has at least two players with household name potential: power forward Nerlens Noel and center Joel Embiid, the team’s newest draft pick.
“At this point, [the Sixers] have collected too many prospects to be that bad and, eventually, they will presumably start spending,” said Goldwein. “The days of being a tanking 15-win team are over.”
At 18-64, the Sixers had the league’s third-worst record.
Goldwein predicts they could win 30 or more games this season, enough in a weak Eastern Conference, to contend for a playoff spot.