The only thing lacking last week from the Sixers’ participation in the silliest annual event on the sports calendar, the NBA lottery, was a laugh track. Men in suits opening envelopes on national television is ripe for mockery under the best of circumstances, and our gang of misfits only added to the hilarity this time around.
First, Julius Erving appeared to have a senior moment when the Sixer logo turned up in the 10th slot in the draft, causing Dr. J a rare momentary lapse in cool. Apparently, the legend was not aware that his team had two picks in the first round. Hey, the man is 64. Give him a break.
Then the Sixers’ season-long tank job was rewarded with the third pick, one slot less favorable than their second-worst record suggested. Immediately, CEO Scott O’Neil declared that “it couldn’t have gone better.” Really? Then what would he have said if they got the first or second pick?
In a draft with three marquee players – Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid of Kansas and Jabari Parker of Duke – the Sixers will indeed get one of them, but it will not be their choice. Cleveland and Milwaukee will get to decide who drops to the No. 3 spot, an unfortunate turn of events if you are already an admirer of the GM Sam Hinkie’s heralded analytics.
But don’t fret, Philadelphia, because Hinkie pried himself away from his stat sheets long enough last week to declare that fans probably have too high an opinion of his expertise, anyway. He’s no genius, he said. No one is.
OK, so let’s review. Dr. J is overwhelmed, Scott O’Neill is overjoyed and Sam Hinkie is overrated. Hey, at least the Sixers are more entertaining now than they were when they were actually playing basketball.