The NBA Draft Lottery used to be one of the biggest nights of the year for the Philadelphia 76ers franchise. Now, the Sixers don’t even have a pick in this year’s draft; their first-rounder is going to Utah by way of Brooklyn, and their second-round pick was forfeited by a league ruling following its tampering investigation. Instead, today is Fire a Coach Day in Philadelphia, still exciting for many, I’m sure.
Nevertheless, much of the rest of the league had eyes on this year’s lottery with generational talent Victor Wembanyama projected to go with this year’s first overall pick. With the ping pong ball results in...congrats to Brett Brown and the rest of the San Antonio Spurs organization.
The 2023 #NBADraftLottery presented by State Farm Results.— NBA (@NBA) May 17, 2023
Watch the 2023 #NBADraft presented by State Farm on June 22nd at 8pm/et on ESPN! pic.twitter.com/qBMBH9fska
From the Sixers’ perspective, if you’re not in a position to grab a generational talent, you at least don’t want to have to go through him in the playoffs every year, so Wemby heading to Texas is a good thing. Charlotte did end up with the second overall pick and could grab an excellent prospect like Scoot Henderson in this stacked top of the draft class. However, I don’t think anyone is too worried about the Hornets, who haven’t made the playoffs since 2016, and the second round since all the back in 2002.
As far as lottery maneuverings go, San Antonio, Charlotte, and Portland all moved up two spots, while Houston moved down two spots and Detroit drew the extra short straw by moving down four spots. Sorry, Pistons fans, there is probably no budding dynasty to be build around Cade Cunningham and a blue-chipper from this draft.
Sixers fans can be heartened by the Rockets sliding down in one of two ways. If you want Harden to stay in Philadelphia, Houston having the fourth overall pick is a less compelling trade chip to bring in another veteran star for a short-term win-now move to attract the Beard. If you want Harden to leave after his consecutive years of last-game playoff failings, you can at least be glad he doesn’t get to play with Wembanyama or the Rockets can’t bolster the roster tremendously well via a slightly higher pick. Anyway, to heck with Houston for likely tampering and getting Harden’s eye off the prize ahead of these last playoffs.
Let’s examine the other Eastern Conference teams who stayed put. Orlando looks to be on the cusp of finally exiting their rebuild, and have both the sixth and 11th overall picks now in this draft; the Magic jumping up could have been really dangerous, though. Likewise with Indiana, who have an outstanding young talent in #FutureFormerSixer Tyrese Haliburton and could maybe have entered the bottom half the playoff fray as soon as next year with another surefire prospect. Washington picking eighth overall is funny because it feels like they’ve been picking around there for about 10 years and it will keep them perfectly balanced on the treadmill of sub-mediocrity. Toronto jumping up from 13th would have just been unfair; the last thing the Raptors need is another long, two-way terror.
Finally, Boston suffered at least one big loss this week.
With the Spurs jumping the Rockets, the Pacers add the No. 32 overall pick as well.— Evan Sidery (@esidery) May 17, 2023
Indiana has four picks in the top 32 (7, 26, 29, 32).
Pacers President Kevin Pritchard also said they don’t want to bring in four rookies next season. They quietly control this year’s draft.
I’ll let Tony East of SI.com explain:
“The Pacers owned the Rockets second-round pick in the upcoming NBA draft, but the selection was protected for picks 33-60, meaning Indiana only got it if it was 31 or 32. Otherwise, it would go to the Boston Celtics and the Pacers would instead end up with the Miami Heat’s second round pick at 50.
Because the Rockets finished with the same record as the Spurs, the lottery would determine which team had the higher pick in both the first and second round. If San Antonio had the better first-round pick, they would be behind Houston in round two, and vice versa. Because the teams were tied for the second-worst record, the fate of pick 32 came down to the lottery drawing. The Pacers wanted to see the Spurs ahead of the Rockets in the first round.”
Haha, take that, Celtics fans. You lost out on something like the 33rd overall pick. Let that bit of misfortune stew in your brains while watching your team in the Eastern Conference Finals.