- Kathy Willens/AP
The NBA draft lottery is on Tuesday night, and the team with the most to gain is the Philadelphia 76ers, who could end up with four first-round picks, including two of the top four picks in the draft if the ping-pong balls bounce their way.
With the worst record in the NBA this season, the 76ers have the best chance of landing the top pick in the draft. With their own pick they have a 25% chance of picking first and a 64.3% chance of landing in the top three.
Here are the 76ers’ chances of landing each of the top four picks with their own pick:
No. 1 – 25% No. 2 – 21.5% No. 3 – 17.8% No. 4 – 35.7% (this is the lowest the 76ers’ pick can fall)
But the real fun comes with the Los Angeles Lakers’ first-round pick. They have the second-best chance of having the top pick at 19.9%. But they also have a 44.2% chance of losing the pick altogether, and the 76ers would be the big winners.
Thanks to an earlier trade, the Lakers’ pick goes to the 76ers if it is not in the top three. Therefore, if two teams leapfrog the Lakers in the lottery drawing and they end up at No. 4, then that pick is transferred to the 76ers.
Here are the Lakers’ chances of landing each of the top three picks or losing to the 76ers:
No. 1 – 19.9% No. 2 – 18.8% No. 3 – 17.1% No. 4 – 31.9% (if this happens, then the pick goes to the 76ers) No. 5 – 12.3% (if this happens, then the pick goes to the 76ers; the Lakers’ pick can’t go lower than this)
If the 76ers’ pick does land in the top three and the Lakers’ pick does not, then Philadelphia would have two of the top five picks in the draft.
But the chances of this happening are not as far-fetched as you might think.
In addition to their own pick, the 76ers also have a tiny bit of insurance, as an earlier trade gives them the option to swap first-round picks with Sacramento if the Kings’ pick is higher. The Kings’ pick has a 1.9% chance of being No. 1 and a 6.8% chance of being in the top three.
Altogether, the 76ers have an 11.9% chance to land pick No. 1 and the Lakers’ pick – either No. 4 or No. 5 – and about a 30% chance of landing two of the top five picks in general.
Amazingly, the 76ers wouldn’t be done, either. They also own picks Nos. 24 and 26 later in the first round, from the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder, respectively.
Not a bad dream at all for the 76ers.