The dream scenario never materialized.
For playoff-starved Sixers fans, they must have watched the NBA Lottery Tuesday night with anticipation.
In the end, they had to be a bit frustrated.
Instead of landing three first round draft picks, including a potential No. 1 overall selection, the Sixers wound up with the No. 3 slot.
With a 15.6 percent chance of winning the No. 1 position, that distinction ended up with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Los Angeles Lakers were second, leaving the pick protected and not heading to the Sixers.
If Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns and Duke’s Jahlil Okafor go No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, that leaves talent such as Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell, Emmanuel Mudiay – who played in China – Duke’s Justise Winslow and Mario Hezonja (Croatia) as targets for the Sixers, among others.
By the way, the Miami Heat’s ping pong ball came in at No. 10, thus protecting that pick as well.
The Sixers will look for the best possible player at No. 3, along with five second-round picks, when the NBA Draft takes place June 25 in Brooklyn. The Sixers possess picks No. 35, 37, 47, 58 and 60.
“I think (Tuesday) is a good outcome for us,” Sixers President & GM Sam Hinkie told reporters. “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.”
Ironically, the Sixers held the No. 3 overall pick last year and selected Kansas’ Joel Embiid. He sat out the entire 2014-15 season while recovering from injuries to his back and leg.
If the NBA trade deadline was any indication, Hinkie will always be unpredictable. He dealt Michael Carter-Williams in a surprising last minute move.
Between now and the draft, the Sixers will surely do their due diligence. Anything can happen.
“It is an important time to gather information about these players because it is our last time,” Hinkie told reporters. “Many of these players will get drafted, and some of them will play really well, and we fast forward and they are free agents. We won’t get a chance to have them in our gym to run and shoot and test and interview again. They will be on television 82 nights a year, but we won’t get an up-close-and-personal feel like we can now. We try to take advantage of that.”
As an aside, the Sixers could have as many as four first round picks in the 2016 draft. The losses are likely to pile up again this coming season even with an influx of talent.
But the future is starting to look brighter.