Breaking down Sixers' NBA draft lottery odds, scenarios

Breaking down Sixers' NBA draft lottery odds, scenarios

The 2017 NBA draft lottery is upon us.

On Tuesday night, the Sixers will find out where and how many times they will select on June 22. They could have two first-round picks, depending on the ping-pong balls, and four second-round selections.

Let's explore the multiple scenarios the Sixers are facing when the results are revealed in New York City.

The Sixers finished with the fourth-worst record in the NBA (28-54), giving them an 11.9 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick on their own. 

They also have pick swap rights with the Kings (32-50), who have a 2.8 percent chance of getting the top pick. The Sixers gained those rights from the trade involving Nik Stauskas in 2015. 

Combine those two scenarios and the Sixers have a cumulative 14.7 percent chance of getting No. 1, 15.1 percent chance of No. 2 and 15.4 percent chance of No. 3. 

The Nets (20-62) have the highest chance of all teams at 25.0 percent. Their pick, however, conveys to the Celtics, stemming from the 2013 trade involving Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. 

The Kings' swap rights have value, but it's the potential of the Lakers' pick that Sixers fans have been eyeing for a while now. The Lakers had the third-worst record (26-56) this season and have a 15.6 percent chance to end up with the No. 1 pick. 

The pick in play was originally acquired in 2015 through the three-team Michael Carter-Williams trade. This year, it is top-three protected. If the Lakers end up with the fourth pick or below, it is heading to Philadelphia. The Sixers have a 53.1 percent chance to get the Lakers' 2017 pick, which becomes unprotected in 2018.

Should the Lakers' pick fall out of the top three, the Sixers have an 8.7 percent chance of having two picks in the top four, a 39.6 percent chance of two picks in the top five, a 52.3 percent chance of two picks in the top six, and a 53.1 percent chance of two picks in the top seven. 

If the Sixers get the No. 1 pick and the Lakers' pick remains top-three protected, it is a win for the Sixers (and perhaps the best-case scenario). They would have first dibs on an impact player and rights to the Lakers' unprotected pick next season. The possibility of guard Markelle Fultz and, barring a major turnaround in L.A., another lottery pick next season? That would be a successful draft. 

Things get interesting when two picks are involved. 

When it comes to multiple selections, the ideal situation for the Sixers would be the first (their own or the Kings) and fourth pick (the Lakers). They could address needs in both the frontcourt and on the wing with players such as Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, Jayson Tatum and De'Aaron Fox. In selecting two top-five players, the Sixers could really begin to shape their future with these two picks and a foundation of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Dario Saric already in place.

The biggest value of landing two picks, though, could be the trade value. The Sixers have more than enough young pieces to build upon. What they don't have is high-caliber, established talent. 

The Sixers could, as a hypothetical example, package the lower pick with Jahlil Okafor. They have remained open to trading Okafor this offseason and the inclusion of a pick could bolster the return. Instead of spending money in free agency, the Sixers could acquire a targeted, more veteran player through a trade that involves a pick. 

The same train of thought applies if the Sixers get two selections, say, later in the top five or six. Players like Malik Monk and Jonathan Isaac are deservedly lottery picks, but would the Sixers need both at this stage in their development? In order for the Sixers to take the next step, they have to add experience to their roster. In a situation like this, the Sixers could benefit from using one of two picks as a trade piece. 

How will the Sixers' results shake out? Embiid will be representing the team on stage when the order is announced, trusting the draft lottery process.

NBA Notes: Cavs-Warriors III joins past championship trilogies

NBA Notes: Cavs-Warriors III joins past championship trilogies

It never happened between Magic Johnson's Lakers and Larry Bird's Celtics. Same for Michael Jordan and Karl Malone or Jerry West and Bill Russell.

While there have been 14 rematches in NBA Finals history, this year's meeting between LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers and Stephen Curry's Golden State Warriors will be the first trilogy in league history.

After the Warriors beat the Cavs for their first title in 40 years in 2015, Cleveland got revenge last season with a comeback from 3-1 down to give the city its first major championship since 1964. Now they meet for the rubber match starting June 1 in Oakland.

While this may be unprecedented in the NBA, it has happened once before in the NFL, NHL and Major League Baseball with matchups that included some of those sports' biggest stars.

There was Babe Ruth vs. Frankie Frisch in the 1920s and then a pair of memorable three-peat matchups in the 1950s featuring Otto Graham against Bobby Layne in the NFL and Gordie Howe against Maurice Richard in the NHL.

Warriors: Durant once team’s 2nd choice
Truth be told, Golden State's former coach wasn't sure the Warriors needed Kevin Durant.

The Warriors were already small-ball sensations, capable of piling up the points with their daring drives and sizzling shooting. So rather than add another scorer, Don Nelson figured Golden State might be better off getting a dominant man in the middle to shore up the defense in the 2007 NBA draft.

Nelson thought the Warriors needed Greg Oden.

That was 10 years ago, leading up to the heavily hyped draft in which the Oden-Durant debate raged throughout basketball. And now, as Durant leads the league's most potent team into the NBA Finals while Oden is long gone from the NBA spotlight, it's easy to forget that a lot of people agreed with Nelson.

"I think everyone felt that there were two players there that were going to be prominent players, but one thing you can't count on is injuries," Warriors executive Jerry West said. "So Greg really never had a chance to have a career, where Kevin's obviously been more than advertised."

Celtics: Thomas unsure if he’ll need surgery
Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas wanted to keep playing in the Eastern Conference finals, but team doctors and officials convinced him he needed to shut down his season for his long-term health.

"They had multiple people come in and talk to me about what's more important," Thomas said Friday, a day after the Celtics were eliminated by the Cleveland Cavaliers. "But I definitely wasn't trying to hear that at that point in time."

Thomas injured the hip in March and aggravated it in the second-round series against Washington. He played three halves against the Cavaliers before limping off the court in the middle of Game 2.

The Celtics lost that game by 44 points to fall behind 0-2 in the best-of-seven series, then announced the next day that Thomas was done for the season. Still, they beat the Cavaliers in Cleveland the next game before falling easily in Games 4 and 5.

"Eastern Conference finals, that's the biggest stage I've ever been on," Thomas said at the team's practice facility in Waltham, Massachusetts. "To not be able to go back out there in that second half and continue that series was painful. Like it hurt me."

Speaking for the first time since the end of his season, Thomas said he might need surgery but it's "not the No. 1 option right now." He will have to wait for more tests until the swelling goes down, he said (see full story).

Report: Brett Brown accuses longtime friend of defrauding him of $750,000

Report: Brett Brown accuses longtime friend of defrauding him of $750,000

Sixers head coach Brett Brown is in Australia this week, where he has accused longtime friend and former Australian men's national team assistant coach Shane Heal of defrauding him of $750,000, according to the Australian Associated Press.

Brown invested $250,000 into each of three companies for which Heal was the sole director. Brown wasn't given a legal title regarding the companies and didn't know the specifics of how the money would be used.

"I assumed that the money was going to be used for what Shane told me it was going to be used for," Brown said. "Because it was a friend that I had for 25 years."

Heal was charged last year by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission following an investigation relating to alleged misconduct in 2008, 2009 and 2010, according to the AAP.

The sides return to court in Brisbane on July 20.

Heal played in the NBA for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1996-97 and was with the San Antonio Spurs in 2003.