I don’t consider myself much of a hockey fan. I’ll flip on some games during the playoffs, especially if the hometown team is involved. I’d say my girlfriend is even less a fan. I’d be surprised if she could name three NHL players, and that’s not a knock on her; she prides herself on being able to name all 32 starting NFL quarterbacks.
But the two of us were sitting in a bar a few weeks ago when the NHL lottery came on the TV. With the smallest amount of background knowledge I could provide (the top pick is a surefire star, a few teams were tanking hard), it became very exciting.
The NHL only has a lottery for the top pick, then everyone else falls into place. So as soon as a team’s name didn’t appear in the correct slot, it meant they jumped up to #1. Edmonton did and then the rest of the teams followed.
The NBA lottery, which draws for the top 3 picks, is not only more fair, but endlessly more interesting. When a team’s name doesn’t appear, they are now guaranteed a top 3 selection and have bumped everyone down in the order. You jumped up, but how far? To where? The final three teams are then revealed, after a commercial break, and the team winning the top pick rejoices.
I live in Philadelphia and now consider myself a Sixers fan. I’m sure many of my readers would say the same. Because of that, I wanted to help spell out what to watch for in tonight’s lottery. Whether you’re a casual fan or just needed a refresher, this is a blow-by-blow breakdown of what to root for tonight.
- Oklahoma City Thunder – (0.5% chance at the top pick)
- Phoenix Suns – (0.5% chance at the top pick)
- Utah Jazz – (0.5% chance at the top pick)
- Indiana Pacers – (0.5% chance at the top pick)
Root for at least one of these teams to make the jump to the top three. Why? The Sixers own Miami’s pick, but only if it falls outside the top ten. In order for that to happen, they need one of these four to leap. More than one would be fine too, but may hurt the Sixers own chances of a top pick. Best case scenario: one jumper from this group, that isn’t OKC (because the Sixers own their pick next season). All in, there’s a 7.57 percent chance the Heat pick heads to Philly.
- Miami Heat – (1.1% chance at the top pick)
So again, we want Miami to show up in the #11 spot. Then we want the camera to cut to a disdainful Pat Riley.
- Charlotte Hornets – (1.7% chance at the top pick)
- Detroit Pistons – (2.8% chance at the top pick)
- Denver Nuggets – (4.3% chance at the top pick)
- Sacramento Kings – (6.3% chance at the top pick)
- Orlando Magic – (8.8% chance at the top pick)
It would be great for one of these teams to leap as well, but be wary. The Sixers need two of the bottom eight teams in the lottery to leap over the Lakers into the top 3 in order to collect their top 5 protect pick this year. In total, there’s a 15.68 percent shot of that happening. Scary part? Two hoppers means the Sixers own pick very well may be hurt. Sure, the top three could be the Sixers and the hoppers, but if left out of the top three, Philly’s pick slides to at least 5th.
- Los Angeles Lakers – (11.9% chance at the top pick)
In order for Sam Hinkie to collect on the MCW trade this year, the Lakers need to appear as high as 6th.
- SIXERS – (15.6% chance at the top pick)
The hope is obviously the first pick. And it’s in reach. But as I mentioned in the post yesterday, this draft has a top tier of four prospects. To feel safe, the Sixers should be hoping for a chance to grab one of them. This means either they win a top 3 selection, or there’s one or fewer leapers from behind them. That might mean they hold on to the picks from Miami and LA for another year, but getting their hands on one of the elite prospects on the board is the key.
- New York Knicks – (19.8% chance at the top pick)
- Minnesota Timberwolves – (25% chance at the top pick)
These are the teams the Sixers need to jump over. If you see one of these teams appear before the Sixers, something very good has happened.
The dream scenario of #1, #6, and #11 is still alive but the chances of it occurring sit at a lowly 0.25 percent.
That doesn’t matter. The lottery is about hope. The lottery is about luck.
Here’s every scenario possible. Most of them don’t matter. #OneSixEleven is happening.
Shane McNichol is the founder, editor, and writer at PalestraBack.com. He has also contributed to SALTMoney.org and ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @OnTheShaneTrain.
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