76ers Due For Some Lottery Luck
Luck is a central aspect of success in the NBA. Talent, coaching, and chemistry are all extremely important, but luck is equally integral. No title team gets there without catching a few breaks somewhere along the way. Securing a superstar via the bouncing of ping-pong balls, avoiding injury, favorable matchups; all predicated on luck.
The Sixers are heading into a monumental summer in terms of the franchise's future, and after whiffing on a top two pick in each of the past two drafts - despite the obvious and best efforts of much maligned former General Manager Sam Hinkie - the Sixers are due for some of that ever important luck in the upcoming draft lottery.
Fortunate is something that the franchise wasn't with Hinkie at the helm. Despite punting the present in favor of sustainable future fortification, the organization was not rewarded with a premier pick, and thus missed out on top-tier talents Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony-Towns, as well franchise-fitting Jabari Parker and D'Angelo Russell while landing at the third selection spot in two consecutive drafts.
The Sixers currently unbalanced roster and frontcourt log jam is a byproduct of this lack of lottery luck. Without the pick of the litter, Hinkie’s modus operandi on draft day was selecting the best available option – team fit aside – with future flexibility (read: tradability) in mind. One can't help but to wonder if things would be different – i.e. if Hinkie would still be pioneering the Sixers’ ship – if he had had a little better luck in the lottery.
Such speculation is a moot matter at this point, as the franchise is moving forward under the direction of Bryan Colangelo. But ironically enough, with Hinkie now gone, this years draft may represent the team's last, best opportunity to capitalize on his efforts. Despite the national backlash to his methods, this is actually the first year that the Sixers finished with the league’s worst record under Hinkie, and thus the first time that they have the best odds to land the draft's top pick. With the potential of a pick-swap from Sacramento factored in, the Sixers have a 26.9% chance of finally getting that top pick. They also have a nearly 23% chance of getting the second selection, which would serve as a solid consolation if the top pick fell elsewhere.
The Sixers also have an increased shot at landing the Lakers pick this year, as it is now only top-three protected, as opposed to the top-five protection attached to it last year. Overall, there is a 44.2% chance that the Lakers pick will kick to the Sixers this summer.
The beauty of Hinkie's “plan” was that he maximized the organization’s opportunity to strike it lucky. Increased opportunities leads to enhanced odds of securing a star, and thus a miss here or there isn’t detrimental. Lottery luck wasn’t necessarily on the Sixers side during Hinkie’s tenure with the team, but with that era now in the rearview the organization is positioned – and due – for a reversal of fortune.