Were the Lakers the Real Lottery Winners?
This week saw an annual drawing of ping pong balls.
In this case, that would be the NBA draft lottery.
Whereas MLB and the NFL decide a team’s draft position solely by record, the NBA and NHL determine draft picks 1-14 via random chance.
To be more precise, the lottery is a drawing of numbered ping pong balls corresponding in quantity to the position of teams that missed the playoffs.
The worse your record, the more ping pong balls you have, thus the better chance of have of getting the No 1 pick.
The previous two tank jobs saw the Sixers end up with the No 3 pick in the draft, which they used to take Joel Embiid in 2014 and Jahlil Okafor in 2015.
While Okafor Okafor shone on the court -- when he wasn’t fighting opposing fans off it -- Embiid is still yet to set foot in an actual NBA game. Still, dude does give fans a good show while he's riding pine:
With the first overall pick firmly in their grasp, the question now for the 76ers is whether they'll finally be able to turn their franchise around.
Their odds-on favorite for the pick is former LSU freshman Ben Simmons.
Simmons had No 1 overall projections early on in the college season, and for good reason. The Aussie has both size and skills. If you need a rebound, he can come down with the ball. If you need a pass, the dude can drop a dime.
However, Simmons' stock dropped as the LSU season spiraled down the drain, a fall so bad, the Tigers missed out on the March Madness fun.
In Simmons' decline, Duke’s Brandon Ingram has stepped into the fore. Dude's both taller and longer than Simmons, as well as a better scorer. Plus, he had the month of March to put his skills on display for NBA teams.
Despite recent developments, Simmons is still seen as Philadelphia's best bet at No 1.
Sitting behind them at No 2 is the Los Angeles Lakers. Though they lost the lottery draw, they may have won the better spot in the draft.
Hear me out, now. Hear me out.
At No 1, Philadelphia pretty much has to take Simmons. Dude's seen as the better upside player. However, Ingram might be the more polished player. There's also a perception that Simmons gave up when the going got tough in LSU.
The Lakers already rang up a victory of sorts when their pick came up second, as a pick outside the top three would've sent the pick to the 76ers.
The next victory might come on draft night if the Sixers select Simmons, leaving Ingram for the Lakers.
Of course, if Los Angeles had the top pick, they would've had their choice of both, but sitting at No 2 saves them from the debate of making a choice. We all know how often teams are mocked for taking the wrong guy.
Selecting Ingram would be a major win the Lakers, especially considering how weak the rest of the field is.