The top story surrounding the recent NBA draft lottery has been the unlikely selection of the Washington Wizards with the top pick, and the subsequent fall of the NJ Nets to the third selection. This ongoing drama has stolen the water cooler action among many NBA fans, but the true winner of the draft may have been the Philadelphia 76ers.
Coming into Tuesday’s lottery the Sixers had a 5.3% chance of receiving the top slot and were expected to go somewhere between the sixth or seventh pick. As the choices fell and teams received their picks the Sixers, somehow in a chance of fait, were chosen to take the second pick of the upcoming draft (June 24, 7p.m. ESPN). For many reasons this was even better for the team then somehow receiving the top slot.
The Sixers, looking to show a sign of their future, sent rookie point guard Jrue Holiday as their representative in the draft. Holiday was the teams first round pick in 2009 and is one of the glimmers of hope for a team that finished last season at a dismal 27-55.
As the picks fell and ESPN flashed to a shot of Kentucky freshman John Wall, the discussion among the media was how he would fit in each of the top three teams (Washington, Philadelphia, N.J). As this discussion went on none was more nervous of Wall’s selection then Jrue Holiday.
If the Sixers somehow received the top pick they would have been expected and even pressured to take the 6’4 Kentucky guard John Wall. As soon as NBA assistant commissioner Adam Silver announced the Sixers won the second pick you saw a rush of relief roll over the face of Jure Holiday.
As much of a sign of relief it was really a sign of job security as the second pick would give the team the opportunity to take Ohio State shooting guard Evan Turner, a pick that would give the Sixers a back court to grow with. Holiday looked elated as the fact that his job may have become the most secure within the organization.
Turner was last seasons NCAA player of the year and is, in many opinions, the top player in this year’s draft. At a slender 6’7 210lbs Turner has been compared to Portland Trailblazers Brandon Roy. Roy was the 2007 rookie of the year and the major reason the Blazers made the playoffs this season.
The draft will commence five weeks from today and if all pieces fall into place the Sixers may finally have a combo of young players to look forward to. This is an easy decision for the Sixers and with this pick could make the teams ongoing coaching search more appealing to possible suitors.
Only time will tell but with the ongoing success of the Flyers and the Phillies season well under way the Sixers finally have a point of discussion in the Philadelphia sports scene.
NBA Draft Lottery Selection:
1. Washington Wizards
2. Philadelphia 76ers
3. New Jersey Nets
4. Minnesota Timberwolves
5. Sacramento Kings
6. Golden State Warriors
7. Detroit Pistons
8. L.A. Clippers
9. Utah Jazz (from the Knicks)
10. Indiana Pacers
11. New Orleans Hornets
12. Memphis Grizzlies
13. Toronto Raptors
14. Houston Rockets