Sixers will select third overall in 2017 draft

By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)

On a night when Sixers fans expected to be either incredibly elated or disappointed, the results of Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery were firmly in the middle, the living personification of the shrug emoji. Thanks to the incredible foresight of Sam Hinkie, the Sixers will select third overall in next month’s draft.

Philadelphia’s own pick did not move up, falling one slot to fifth overall. However, because Sacramento was the team who jumped them into the top-3, the Sixers were able to swap selections courtesy of Hinkie’s 2015 deal with the Kings. Moving up two spots in the draft feels like a tremendous use of cap space to me. How about you, Joel?

While missing out on Markelle Fultz is unfortunate, the Sixers only had a 14.7% chance at the first overall pick after all. Seeing him join an already good Celtics roster will be tough to swallow, but that’s Brooklyn’s fault. Remember that Philadelphia did move up one spot from where their record slotted them and will have their pick of a number of terrific prospects in what’s considered a deep draft. A starting lineup of Ben Simmons, Josh Jackson, Robert Covington, Dario Saric, and Joel Embiid is something I can get behind.

As for the Lakers pick, yes, it would have been awfully sweet to see Magic look foolish for guaranteeing they wouldn’t lose it (with LA losing its 2019 first-rounder to Orlando as an added bonus). But having their 2018 first rounder unprotected is a tremendous consolation prize. Personally, I’m going to have an inordinate amount of fun rooting for whatever team is playing the Lakers each night. No more hoping they’re bad, but not too bad, because of top-3 protection on the pick. Just lose, baby.

In the end, for the third time in the past four years, the Sixers will have the third overall pick. The team’s past two selections in that spot resulted in Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor, and I can’t imagine covering a wider range of possible outcomes than those two players. In all likelihood, like Tuesday night’s lottery result, this year’s selection will fall firmly in the middle. And that’s just fine.

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