The Sixers Did Their Part and Lost Last Night. It Didn’t Matter.

The Sixers lost to the Heat last night. But Brooklyn beat Orlando, so the Sixers will likely end up with just one first-round pick in this season of epic tanking.


Photo illustration | Alyse Moyer; Photo credits, from left: Nerlens Noel (Bill Streicher, USA Today Sports), Franklin (David Dow, NBA Photos ), Brett Brown (Jason Getz, USA Today Sports) and Joel Embiid (Bill Streicher, USA Today Sports).

The Philadelphia 76ers will likely have just one first-round draft pick this year.

That wouldn’t be an issue for many teams — after all, you originally just have one — but the Sixers were in line to have as many as four. And now they’ll probably have just their own pick, currently slotted as the No. 3 selection going into the draft lottery. 

Despite losing to the Heat in their season finale last night — as they needed to do — the Sixers will probably not get the Miami pick. Brooklyn won its game against Orlando. That means the Heat currently have the league’s 10th-worst record. Unless a team behind them passes them in the draft lottery, that pick will not go to the Sixers. The Sixers can also get the Lakers pick if two teams behind Los Angeles (slotted fourth) move into the top three via the lottery and the Lakers fall down to sixth.

To make things worse, the Knicks also lost last night, the Sixers didn’t pick up any extra ping pong balls by falling into a tie for the second-worst record. The Sixers have a 15.6 percent chance of landing the first pick.

Last night’s game against Miami was a weird one. The Heat only played six players, with four guys going the full 48 minutes. Michael Beasley went 12-27 from the floor. The Sixers held out Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Furkan Aldemir, Nerlens Noel, Isaiah Canaan, Ish Smith and Jason Richardson. At one point, injured 2014 first-round draft pick Joel Embiid diagrammed a play.

Embiid grabbing Hollis Thompson to make sure he’s paying attention was by far the game’s highlight. The Sixers took predictable flak for that, but they scored on it. Maybe Embiid needs to draw up more plays.

The Sixers finished at 18-64, the third-worst record in the NBA and one game worse than last season. The NBA Draft Lottery — perhaps the biggest day of the year for Sixers fans — is May 20th.

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