Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sixers get third pick in NBA Draft

Ohio State star D'Angelo Russell,
NEW YORK – D'Angelo Russell, come on down.

The Philadelphia 76ers were awarded the third overall pick in the 31st annual edition of the NBA Draft Lottery held Tuesday night, the second straight year Sam Hinkie's controversial "tanking plan" produced
the third overall selection.

Entering the lottery, the Sixers had a 15.59 percent chance of landing the third selection.

Minnesota, which had the best chance to land the top spot at 25 percent, did exactly that and will have its choice between big men Karl-Anthony Towns of Kentucky and Jahlil Okafor of Duke.

The Los Angeles Lakers leapfrogged both the New York Knicks as well as the Sixers to land the third spot and figure to take the loser of the Towns-Okafor debate in Minneapolis although it's at least conceivable that the Lakers could snare Russell, the Sixers perceived desire, before Sam Hinkie gets the chance.

In that case the SIxers would chose between another big man in Okafor, not a natural fit because of the presence of Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel, or a much lesser prospect in guard Emmanuel Mudiay.

Los Angeles' good fortune further hurt the Sixers because if the Lakers pick had fallen outside the top-five, it would have been conveyed to Philadelphia as part of a prior trade. That pick now becomes top-three protected for the 2016 draft and likely will revert to Philly then because LA figures to be much improved next season.

Additionally Miami stayed at No. 10 in the Draft Lottery, meaning that selection also doesn't convey to the Sixers. Next year's Heat pick remains top-10 protected and becomes unprotected in 2017.

In addition, Philadelphia owns the protected rights to Oklahoma City's 2016 first round pick as well as the Sixers own first round pick, giving Hinkie as many as four first-round picks in the 2016 NBA Draft if the chips fall in the Sixers' direction.

This marks the fourth time Philadelphia has held the third overall pick.  Last year, the Sixers used the third overall selection on Embiid, who was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year as a freshman for Kansas in 2013-14 but missed his entire rookie season due to injury.

The third overall pick has produced several marquee players over the years, including Nate Thurmond, Pete Maravich, Kevin McHale, Dominique Wilkins, Michael Jordan, Penny Hardaway and Grant Hill.  More recent third-pick alumni include Baron Davis, Pau Gasol, Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams, Al Horford, James Harden and Bradley Beal.

The Sixers also own five second rounds picks heading into the upcoming draft: 35th, 37th, 47th, 58th and 60th. 

The 2015 NBA Draft will be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Thursday, June 25.
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