Despite all assurances that the Sixers did not know that they would win this evening’s draft lottery, the ping pong balls bounced in their favor, and they’ll get the first crack at next month’s NBA draft. Was it rigged? Who knows. All we can say now is that there is some convincing evidence that Dikembe Mutombo maybe spilled the tea.
The rest of the lottery was boring and nobody moved out of their projected slots, with the Lakers and Celtics respectively rounding out the top three. The full lottery draft order is as follows:
Philadelphia had a shot to get another lottery pick if L.A. fell out of the top three, but they’ll get one more pick before shipping it off to Philly next year. Although Brandon Ingram is gaining popularity as a candidate for the first overall pick, Ben Simmons has long been the frontrunner and the Sixers have a sort of foundational choice they’ll have to make. Will they keep glomming together a squad full of young big men and continue picking for talent with no eye towards on-court fit? Or will they choose Ingram and decide that they’re set at center for the foreseeable future? Of course, none of their current crop of centers has been good enough to dissuade them from getting bigger for another year straight, so the decision isn’t as rigidly defined along those lines.
As for the Lakers, well, Magic, take it away!
There aren’t any big losers on the night, since nobody moved out of their most likely pick slot. No matter how many suspicious reports doubting the knee health of Ingram of Simmons get leaked, Boston is not going to land either blue chipper. But three is still a good slot for a playoff team to be picking in, and what they do with the pick will dictate how the rest of the draft unspools. I’m sure Philly will find a way to trade up into the lottery and draft some anonymous 7-foot-9 Luxembourger and I can’t wait.