Hail Hinkie! The Process finally worked. Three years of horrible basketball and development for the future has paid off with the top pick in the NBA Draft.
Yes, the Sixers won something.
For the 17th time since 1986, the Philadelphia 76ers took part in the NBA Draft Lottery, and for the third time in franchise history, the Sixers landed the top overall pick.
Everyone remembers the 1996 draft, when the Sixers took Allen Iverson first overall. Few want to remember the debacle of 1986, when the franchise traded Moses Malone, Terry Catledge and two picks for Jeff Ruland and Cliff Robinson, then swapped the first overall pick to Cleveland for Roy Hinson. The Sixers will not be doing that this year, surely taking either LSU’s Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram from Duke.
If the Sixers opt to take the lean and athletic Ingram, it will be the second straight season they will select Duke’s top draft choice, having taking Jahlil Okafor with the third pick last season.
The Sixers selected third the last two seasons, taking Joel Embiid in 2014 and Okafor in 2015, both hopefully solid big men, but clearly missing out on potential franchise cornerstones the city had hoped to get in either of those years. Third, frankly, sucked.
Heading into this year’s lottery, the team has been awarded a spot in the top three nine times since 1986, drafting first overall just once—Iverson—while selecting second three times—taking Shawn Bradley in ‘93, Keith Van Horn in ‘97 and Evan Turner in ‘10—and third four times—Charles Smith in ‘88, Jerry Stackhouse in ‘95, Embiid and Okafor the last two seasons. First sure feels better than third.
After the selection, head coach Brett Brown took the opportunity to ostensibly apologize to the fans, telling ESPN’s Heather Cox, “My immediate thoughts go straight to the city of Philadelphia. They have been amazing—our true fans, the city have been amazing—allowing us to go through the process that we have. We’ve taken hits for three seasons. We’re excited about the position that we’re now in.”
Not only do the Sixers own the first pick, but they also get the 24th and 26th picks. They missed out on nabbing the Lakers pick this year, as that’s protected in the top three. The Lakers will select second this year, while the Celtics pick third. The Sixers will get the Lakers pick next season if it falls outside the top three, or in 2018 no matter where it lands.
Process or not, the tanking was easy. Now comes the hard part for the Sixers:
Deciding who to pick first overall.