The 2014 NBA Draft Lottery is tomorrow. In the span of five minutes, the Sixers course for the future will be determined. This, even more than the NBA Draft itself, is the climax to the Sixers season. Excitement will be palpable. This is the moment we've waited 326 days for. Everything Hinkie did in the past year has led to this, and yet excitement is not the primary motion I am feeling right now.
Truthfully, I'm afraid.
Not because I think the Pelicans catapult in the top 3 and the Sixers end up with the 5th overall pick.
Not because I have a conspiracy theory claiming it is rigged for the Lakers or Celtics.
Not because people may use it as a referendum on tanking.
I'm afraid of tomorrow's NBA Draft Lottery because everything's already perfect.
The Sixers just had what in many twisted ways can be considered a perfect season. Minus the irrelevant Jason Richardson and Arnett Moultrie, all of Doug Collins's embarrassing mistakes are no longer part of the team. They hired an extremely intelligent head coach from San Antonio, wrangled four lottery picks in two years, and most importantly became a process-oriented organization comparable to the most intelligent ones in basketball today.
And none of this is to say that any of the above will change following the lottery. It won't. Hinkie and Brown will still be smart, Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel will be here, and Harris is not going to become reactionary overnight. Even if everything falls apart, I have full confidence Hinkie can use the available cap space, other first round castoffs, and future draft classes to eventually build a winner.
But with everything already perfect, it can't get any better than this. No matter what happens, no matter how the lottery turns out, everything will be different after Tuesday night. The brief moment of euphoria or sadness will be quickly followed by a fanbase galvanized on prospects, and as the next season begins, instant results. It matters little that the fanbase and the organization are two different entities.
The best thing that can happen right now is being caught in a stasis moments before Silver reveals the team who will pick 14th overall in the draft (if it's not Phoenix, we're all dead). The ending's already been crafted in my mind, and it is the perfect ending we have all been dreaming of. Sixers get the number one pick, Pelicans get the tenth, Hinkie nails the draft choices, Noel comes back healthy, MCW develops into a starting point guard in a contending team, and the Sixers are NBA champions by the end of the decade.
It's the perfect ending to a perfect season, it's mine, and I don't want to lose it.
Tomorrow night, my dream vanishes, and a terrifying new reality emerges. Maybe that's a horrible way to live, but hello, I am a Sixers fan.