The Knicks and Nets didn’t experience any additional anguish in the NBA Draft Lottery, and the Philadelphia 76ers finally won something.
After finishing with the worst-record in the NBA this season and the second-worst in league history, the 76ers were the big winners Tuesday night. They will pick first in the June 23 NBA Draft.
“This does maybe validate a little bit some of the pain that we have gone through,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said. “We’re just very, very excited for the franchise.”
The 76ers finished 10-72 and had the best chance to secure the top pick in this weighted lottery. The Lakers will select second and the Celtics own the third choice that they acquired in a trade with the Nets. Phoenix will pick fourth and the Timberwolves fifth.
The Lottery actually held to form for the first time since going to the current format in 1990. That was good news for the Lakers, whose pick would have gone to the Sixers if Los Angeles had fallen out of the top three.
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak was relieved, and said the lottery provided “drama that really, at this stage of my life, is unnecessary.”
In the end, there really was little drama. In fact, Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo tweeted three hours before the lottery that the Sixers had won. That didn’t help the long-standing opinion that the lottery is rigged. But the league said it was an error by Mutombo
“Congrats to @sixers for grabbing the #1 spot in the #NBADraft,” Mutombo tweeted. But then he quickly deleted it.
A league spokesperson said someone from the Sixers’ alumni association emailed Mutombo during the day and asked if he would tweet something if Philadelphia won the lottery. The person said Mutombo didn’t fully read it and then tweeted out congratulations.
“I did hear,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said. “And what the team said was they of course had the best odds of winning the lottery and they were preparing in the hope that they won and Dikembe accidentally sent a tweet out. What are you going to do?”
The Knicks and Nets don’t have first-round picks despite both teams missing the playoffs. They both traded theirs away in lopsided deals. It would have been a bigger embarrassment had the teams that own their picks won the lottery.
The Nets, who had the third-worst record, sent their pick to Boston in 2013 when they acquired Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry.
The Knicks finished with the seventh-worst record in the league, but their 2016 first-round pick went to the Toronto Raptors, thanks to the Andrea Bargnani trade in 2013. But the Raptors will pick ninth as another Knicks’ trade impacted this lottery.
The Nuggets had the right to swap picks with the Raptors’ acquired pick as part of the trade with the Knicks for Carmelo Anthony. Denver will pick seventh.
The Knicks don’t have a pick in either round, but could try to acquire one.