Commissioner David Stern at a sports business summit over the weekend was asked about the Philadelphia 76ers and their rather transparent efforts to tank in pursuit of a top pick, presumably Canadian prospect at Andrew Wiggins, a freshman at Kansas.
"That is so ... small," said Stern. "I hope they have a great season and don't have the chance for the No. 1 pick."
He's referring to the Sixers' chances there, which are considerably tiny. There's only a one-in-four chance the Sixers land the top spot in the lottery. In a draft this deep, though, even falling out of the top-three spots gets you Dante Exum, Marcus Smart, Aaron Gordon, one of the Harrison twins or Jabari Parker, depending on which mock draft you prefer. So really, you're still doing pretty well.
And that's the secret here. Tank, but get screwed by the lottery, and you're still in good shape to pick up an impact player. Drafts like this only come along once in a while. Even if you took away the weighting of odds and gave all 14 lottery teams the same chance at the No.1 pick? I'd still run the Sixers into the ground just to make sure I had no chance of making the playoffs.
That's how good this draft is. Also, it's nice that Stern hopes they have a good season. He's such a warm, loveable fellow, you know.
In a related note, this isn't actually nice. If the Sixers make the playoffs, it's because they're the eighth seed, get crushed by Miami, don't get a good pick and are stuck where they have been for the past three decades, in no-man's land of NBA purgatory. Don't wish that upon them, Stern! Pray for awful!