Analyzing Lottery Odds Hopes

By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)

As almost half the league’s fans are current living and dying with their teams’ performances in the first round of the playoffs, Sixers fans, for what feels like the umpteenth year, are left waiting for the results of some ping pong balls in New York on May 17th. During the interim, I find it interesting how people have different focal points for where they’ll be happy or disappointed with the results of next month’s NBA draft lottery.

For instance, Max Rappaport, formerly of the Sixers digital team and currently a writer for Complex Sports and Liberty Ballers, posted the potential lottery results the other day and how he would feel about each outcome.

He placed any situation where the Sixers obtain a top-2 pick as feeling ecstatic, a sentiment I happen to agree with, feeling Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram are the only two true difference-makers in the draft, and grabbing one of them is a top priority.

However, he then classified a situation where the Sixers receive the 3rd overall pick as only somewhat disappointed, essentially due to his feelings on Dragan Bender, who has officially declared he is entering the 2016 draft. I disagree with that portion of his spectrum, as personally, I’m equally devastated with the 3rd pick as the 4th (well, not exactly equally, but you get my point).

Colangelo and Son are going to spend in free agency to bolster the roster and ensure, if nothing else, the Sixers aren’t a bottom-three-type team in the league next year. That means this is the last, best chance for the Sixers to grab that franchise-changing talent (Joel Embiid could stay healthy or one of the Kings assets could pay off in another year, but the point stands). I think there’s far too much uncertainty surrounding an 18-year-old who played 12 minutes per game overseas last season to be confident with his being the final, franchise-altering piece. If the Sixers get him with the Lakers pick at 4 or 5, terrific. But if he’s their top guy at 3, I’m devastated.

Other people (not Max) have a happiness focal point as to whether or not the Sixers get the Lakers pick this year. Understandably, plenty of fans are sick and tired of all the losing and want the biggest talent infusion as soon as possible. Still, draft experts have made strong arguments that the Sixers would be better off having that pick in the more talented 2017 draft class. I remain skeptical the Lakers will really be that bad next year though, now that Byron Scott is out of town and the Kobe sideshow is over. Add it all up and I’m basically ambivalent as to whether or not the Lakers pick falls to the Sixers this year.

Therefore, when it comes down to it, all I really care about is a top-2 pick; everything else is just window dressing. Which means, come May 17th, there’s a 50.5% chance I’m going to be devastated. At least that’s better odds than a Sixers fan usually gets.

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