Tuesday May 19th, 2015

As NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum announced the Philadelphia 76ers had won the 10th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, Julius Erving furrowed his brow. The Sixers had the second-best odds at winning the No. 1 overall pick last May, how in the world could Philadelphia had dropped all the way to 10?

Erving, who represented the 76ers on the Times Squares Studios stage last spring, later admitted the Sixers staff failed to enlighten him about Philadelphia’s entire lottery situation. Yes, Philadelphia was vying for the top overall pick and a chance to select any of Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker or Joel Embiid. However, the Sixers also owned the top-five protected New Orleans Pelicans’ 2014 first round pick. When Tatum announced the Sixers at 10, in-the-know fans rejoiced while the Philadelphia legend’s confused expression was broadcast on national television.

The 76ers find themselves in an even more precarious situation this year. Philadelphia has the third-highest chance, 15.6%, at the No. 1 overall pick this year. The Sixers are also owed the Lakers’ top-five protected first rounder, as well as the Miami Heat’s top-10 protected lottery selection.

[daily_cut.nba]With the Lakers owning the fourth-worst record and thus the fourth-best odds at the No. 1 pick, there’s a 17.2% chance the Lakers drop to No. 6 or No. 7, and thus gifting their selection to Philly. Interestingly, there’s a greater chance of that happening than the Sixers simply winning the lottery. The Heat finished the season with 10th-worst record, barely clinging on to their first rounder as is. However, there’s still a 9.1 percent chance one team in the 11-14 slots can jump all the way into the top three (the lottery is simply a drawing for the top three slots followed by the remaining teams being awarded picks 4-14 based on worst record).

How can Tuesday night become a total coup for the Sixers? There’s a 3.7 percent chance Philadelphia receives picks from both the Lakers and Heat and a 0.28 percent chance Philadelphia ends up picking at No. 1, No. 6 and No. 11. The Orlando Magic are the only team in NBA history to ever have three lottery picks in a single draft (2000) since the NBA instituted the lottery system in 1985.

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