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Sixers Draft '10: The Lottery

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Since all we talk about is the draft lottery, and rightfully so, I thought we'd clear up two FAQs.

What happens if teams finish with the same record?

Say the Sixers and Clippers tie for the 7th worst record, the number of combinations (out of 250) for both teams are added up (43 + 28) and then divided by two, to get the average (35.5). Since the average isn't a whole number, a coin flip is conducted to determine who gets the extra combination. So, if the Sixers and Clippers tied for the 7th worst record, one team would have 36 possible outcomes (out of 250) where they could win the lottery, and the other team would have 35 - a 3.6% and 3.5% chance of winning.

If neither team moves into the top 3, a coin flip is then used to determine who gets the 7th and 8th picks respectively.

What picks can and can't the Sixers get if they finish with the 7th worst record?

If the Sixers finish with the 7th worst record, their choices are limited to 1,2,3 or 7,8,9,10. They can either win one of the top three picks, stay at seven, or drop down 2-3 spots depending on how many teams in the 8-14 range jump into the top 3 (very unlikely). To visualize, here's a look at the odds for every spot.

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The most interesting scenario comes if 5 teams (Warriors, Wizards, Pistons, Kings, Sixers) all tied for the third worst record. If that were the case, every team would receive around 93 outcomes (9% chance of winning lottery), and then depending on who got in the top 3, a coin flip would be used to determine who gets the remaining picks. Crazy.

And just for kicks, here's where the past ten lottery winners finished the regular season: 7th, 3rd, 5th, 1st, 1st, 6th, 5th, 6th, 9th, 2nd.