Possible NBA lottery reform could affect Sixers

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Possible NBA lottery reform could affect Sixers

Tank 2.0 will be a harder sell if the NBA makes it tougher to secure the pot of gold at the end of the lottery rainbow.

According to a report by Zach Lowe at Grantland, the NBA competition committee is reviewing a new lottery reform proposal. The wheel -- a different suggestion that has staunch proponents and detractors -- has evidently been supplanted by a new idea that would alter the current lottery odds in an attempt to discourage tanking for the top pick. They might as well call it the “Sam Hinkie Cease and Desist” plan.

At present, the team with the worst record has a 25 percent chance of getting the first pick in the NBA draft, one of the most valuable assets in the league. The team with the second-worst record has a 19.9 percent chance of getting the best pick. The odds decrease at various intervals from there.

Under the new plan, according to Lowe, the four worst teams would have almost the same chance of getting the top pick: Around 11 percent. That’s a significant shift. After finishing with the second-worst record a year ago, the Sixers had a one in five chance of getting the top pick. Under the new plan, that would have been closer to a one in 10 chance.

Teams that just missed the playoffs but landed at the back end of the lottery would benefit under the new system. The last lottery team would go from having a 0.5 percent chance at the top pick to two percent.

The proposal includes a system in which the top six picks are selected via ping-pong balls, with each subsequent pick being slotted in order from worst to best record. The current system selects the first three picks via ping-pong balls, then slots the rest by record.

Lowe wrote that there are various concerns about the proposal, including that it might encourage fringe playoff teams to tank and go for a better lottery pick than was previously available. (Basically, the teams at the back of the lottery might tank toward the end of the season instead of the teams at the front tanking all year.) The timing and how it might help, hurt or alter strategies that have already been implemented by various general managers (looking, once again, in Hinkie’s direction) is also an issue. Despite all that, NBA commissioner Adam Silver is evidently “serious about tweaking the lottery system, possibly as early as next season,” according to Lowe.

The “possibly as early as next season” part is disconcerting if you’re in favor of the long-term approach outlined by the Sixers over the last year. They are clearly set up to double their efforts on that front next season in an attempt to secure better chances at another top lottery pick. It seems unlikely that the NBA could put the new plan in place that quickly. Unlikely, but not impossible. Which is why there has to be at least a little concern over at Sixers HQ about all this.

This particular proposal was probably not submitted by the Sixers. Just a hunch on that.

Instant Replay: Sixers 106, Nets 101

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USA Today Images

Instant Replay: Sixers 106, Nets 101

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK -- Tiago Splitter made his season debut in the Sixers' 106-101 win over the Nets at Barclays Center on Tuesday.

Splitter, who had not played since Jan. 31, 2016, scored two points with three rebounds in seven minutes off the bench. The veteran center underwent season-ending hip surgery last year and most recently had been dealing with calf issues.

The Sixers had to fend off Nets big man Brook Lopez to get the victory. Lopez led all players with 26 points, nine rebounds and six assists. The Sixers were propelled by Robert Covington (21 points, 13 rebounds) and Dario Saric (23 points, seven rebounds).

The Sixers (28-46) wrapped up their five-game road trip 2-3. The Nets (16-58) had been 5-5 in their previous 10 games, including a 15-point win over the Hawks two days earlier.

Down the stretch
The Sixers led 102-101 with a minute to play. T.J. McConnell drew a foul on Jeremy Lin and made both free throws to bring the Sixers' advantage to three points. Covington grabbed the rebound off a Lopez three-point attempt, and Saric missed a trey on the next possession. The Sixers retained possession with 8.4 seconds to go. Isaiah Whitehead fouled Richaun Holmes. He made both to give the Sixers a 106-101 edge.

Inside the box score
• Lopez scored 10 points in the first quarter and had 17 by halftime.

• Saric didn't waste any time bouncing back from Sunday's struggles. He scored nine points in the first quarter.

• Covington recorded his 12th double-double of the season.

• McConnell dished double-digit assists (10) for the 11th time this season.

• Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot had 17 points (he went 4 for 10 from three) and nine rebounds.

Rodriguez the latest injury
Sergio Rodriguez will miss a week with a strained left hamstring. He suffered the injury during Sunday's game against the Pacers. Rodriguez had a precautionary MRI Tuesday morning.

"It's a little strain," he said. "They say it's going to be about a week, then they'll see how it goes afterward. I feel good. It's a mess because there's no pain at all."

Jahlil Okafor (right knee soreness) missed his third straight game. Gerald Henderson (left hip soreness) also sat out. Jerryd Bayless and Ben Simmons were with the team.

Sixers fans on the road
A group of Sixers fans were loud and proud in Brooklyn. Their chants included "Ti-a-go" at the start of the game, "M-V-P" when Saric was at the line and, not to be forgotten, "trust the process" during the second half.

Pennsylvania connections
Villanova alum Randy Foye started for the Nets.

In the second half, a courtside fan yelled, "Chester jumps higher!" when Chester, Pa. native Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was taking a jump ball against Holmes.

Up next
The Sixers will return home (briefly) to host the Hawks Wednesday night. Then it's back on the road to play the Cavaliers on Friday in Cleveland.

Sixers-Nets 5 things: On the road vs. a surprisingly hot 16-win team

Sixers-Nets 5 things: On the road vs. a surprisingly hot 16-win team

The Sixers (27-46) close out their five-game road trip against the Brooklyn Nets (16-57) on Tuesday night at the Barclays Center (7:30 p.m./CSN, CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports app).

Let's take a closer look at the matchup:

1. End of the road
This road trip has been a mixed bag of performances for the Sixers.

It started with heartbreak as they blew a lead in the second half of an overtime loss to the Orlando Magic. Then the Sixers were physically dominated in a blowout loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder before rebounding with a double-digit win over the Chicago Bulls. Their most recent game resulted in a cold-shooting defeat at the hands of the Indiana Pacers.

The Sixers cap off the road swing against a surprisingly hot Nets squad. Despite still having the NBA's worst record by far, Brooklyn has won three of its last four games. That includes back-to-back victories last week for the first time all season when the Nets beat the Detroit Pistons and Phoenix Suns.

2. Budding duo
The Nets have enjoyed this late-season resurgence thanks mostly to the duo of Jeremy Lin and Brook Lopez.

While Lopez has been his steady self all season, Lin has been hampered by a hamstring injury that limited him to just 28 games. Since he returned at the end of February, however, the Nets are 7-10.

The duo's capability was on full display in the Nets' most recent game, a 107-92 road win over the Atlanta Hawks. Lopez and Lin combined for 42 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in the rout.

3. Saric's response
The Sixers have come to expect solid contributions from Dario Saric on a nightly basis, but that didn't materialize in Sunday's loss to the Pacers.

Saric struggled with just nine points on 3 of 15 shooting. The rookie did add 10 rebounds, but his streak of double-digit scoring games came to a halt at 22.

The Sixers will be expecting Saric to play more like the guy who has averaged 19.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists since the All-Star break on Tuesday night.

4. Injuries
Sergio Rodriguez (hamstring) is questionable. Jahlil Okafor (knee), Gerald Henderson (hip), Joel Embiid (knee), Ben Simmons (foot) and Jerryd Bayless (wrist) are out for the Sixers.

Sean Kilpatrick (hamstring) is a game-time decision. Joe Harris (shoulder) is out for the Nets.

5. This and that
• The Sixers have won two straight and four of the last five against the Nets.

• Lin has averaged 16.5 points during his career vs. the Sixers -- his highest mark against any NBA team. That's in addition to 5.4 assists and 3.5 rebounds.

• Richaun Holmes is averaging 13.1 points on 60.5 percent shooting and 6.8 rebounds in March.