Last year, when the Sixers and their new GM Sam Hinkie embarked on the original Season of Tanking, the goal was to lose, lose often and put themselves in a better position to land the first overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. 63 losses and the second worst record in the NBA later, the team ended up with the third overall pick thanks to the Cleveland Cavaliers somehow beating the odds and landing at number one.
This year, the Sixers and Hinkie once again went on a campaign to lose as many games as possible. Yet due to the sad state of the Eastern Conference, Tank 2.0 only gave the Sixers the third worst record in basketball at 18-64. But thanks to some wheeling and dealing at the trade deadline, the Sixers had the chance to have four first round picks in 2015 if the remainder of the season fell their way.
Before the NBA Draft lottery on Tuesday, the Oklahoma City Thunder pick was already off the table thanks to them not making the playoffs. The Miami Heat and Los Angels Lakers picks could still happen, but the odds were not in the Sixers favor. That didn’t stop Sixers fans from getting #onesixeleven trending on twitter however.
By the time all was said and done, the Sixers came away from the Draft lottery with their own pick and nothing more. The team didn’t move up or down and will pick at No. 3 when the NBA Draft kicks off on June 25.
The Minnesota Timberwolves were awarded the No. 1 pick while the Lakers wormed their way into the top 3 to land at No. 2, much to the chagrin of New York Knicks fans everywhere. After that the draft order went as expected, with no other surprises on the night.
For his part Hinkie was happy with where the Sixers ended up, telling Dei Lynam of CSN Philly.com:
“I think tonight is a good outcome for us. It was better than I anticipated. I thought we would get the fourth pick. That was our single most likely outcome to get one pick. We had a 77 percent chance to come out of this with only one lottery pick.
Maybe we have been spoiled the last few years having two [picks] per year. Maybe going forward we will have that again, but we thought we could come out with only one pick and we thought it would be four.”
With the Sixers sitting at No. 3, almost everyone has already predicted that the team will draft point guard D’Angelo Russell out of Ohio State. The 6-foot-5, 180 pound is said to have excellent court vision, be a solid passer and unlike Michael Carter-Williams, can shoot the ball. The choice of Russell really is a no-brainer unless Hinkie likes what he sees in Emmanuel Mudiay better, the other guard of note in this year’s draft.
With no pressing need to add yet another big man such as Karl-Anthony Towns or Jahlil Okafor, it makes the most sense for the Sixers to target a floor general. It will finally offer some stability at the position and could take the franchise to the next level.
As in, the playoffs.
Don’t laugh. With addition of a player like Russell to a roster that includes the already impressive Nerlens Noel and the obvious talent of Joel Embiid, there is a good chance that the Sixers could go from the lottery to the postseason in one fell swoop. With the East as bad as it is, anything could happen.
So mark your calendars as Sixers Nation counts down the days to the next big date in the Great Rebuild: June 25 and the 2015 NBA Draft.