The NBA Draft Lottery has gone chalk for the first time.
Since the NBA started conducting draft lotteries, the order had not gone exactly as the records would indicate. It was bound to happen at some point, and that eventuality has become the 76ers gain, as the franchise from Philadelphia will get to make the No. 1 overall pick for the first time since 1996, when Allen Iverson became a superstar whose presence somewhat revolutionized the style of the league.
Obviously, the Sixers are big winners. However, are they the biggest winners? Who are the biggest losers? Given that the entire thing was chalk, it's kind of tough to find a team who genuinely lost. Since each team stayed status quo, we have to look a bit deeper for winners and losers, but ere's a quick outline on what you need to know.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are the biggest winners of draft night, especially when you consider what could have been the alternative. Coming into the night, the Lakers had about a 44 percent chance of falling out of the top three of the draft and losing their selection due to conditions of the Steve Nash trade back in 2012. Instead, not only did the Lakers stay in the top three maintain their asset for this offseason, but they also got to stay in the top two and get the choice of either Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram -- the top two players in what is a consensus two-player draft in terms of elite talent.
Now, instead of trying to draw free agents with their $60-plus million in cap space this summer and only the trio of D'Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson to fall back on, the Lakers will be able to sell yet another somewhat elite piece to players who are looking to move to a potential contender sooner rather than later. Or, they could use the pick in a trade to accelerate their timeline even further, and with the pick falling in the top two it will be highly-coveted around the league. This was a big night for the Lakers in multiple capacities, and they should be celebrating their good fortune on the evening.
Philadelphia 76ers/Bryan Colangelo/Joshua Harris
As mentioned above, the 76ers are another big winner on the evening, as after three season of winning a combined 47 games in the past three seasons they finally get the No. 1 overall pick for their troubles. Sure, it would have been nicer to win last season when the far superior Karl-Anthony Towns was the No. 1 overall player. But whoever they pick out of the Ingram or Simmons duo will make an immediate impact on their franchise's fortunes. If it's Simmons, there will need to be some corresponding roster moves made, something Colangelo alluded to speaking to the media after the victory.
Colangelo spoke at length about wanting to see a balance of young and old on roster, players who can mentor new draftees.— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) May 18, 2016
Speaking of Colangelo, how about the luck here? He inherits a veritable treasure trove of assets from former general manager Sam Hinkie, then doubles down on that luck by getting the No. 1 overall pick in the draft and getting a player who should be solid immediately for them. Colangelo is now in one heck of an enviable position in terms of being successful and turning this thing around sooner rather than later, something that will also look good for the team ownership group led by Joshua Harris.
Basically, they won by avoiding catastrophe. The Kings would have lost their pick had they not stayed in the top 10, meaning they would have had to have been jumped by three teams in the No. 9 through 14 range. The odds were incredibly long in that capacity, far below even a one percent chance. Now they'll get to add a nice piece to new coach Dave Joerger's system while trying to build around DeMarcus Cousins with a coach who knows how to use him well.
A steady, but important night.
Ingram is a guy that will likely look good anywhere, but he particularly lucked out with the situations that he has a chance to be drafted into in either Los Angeles or Philadelphia. With Philly, he'll be counted on heavily early to space the floor and provide some length on defense. With Los Angeles, he'll be able to fit perfectly in new coach Luke Walton's system as a spacing-and-switching two-way forward. Plus, in each situation, he'll be entering a rather large market that will give him potential to become a marketable star if things go right.
It's difficult to necessarily call Simmons a "loser" until we know how this entire thing shakes out, but at this stage it seems possible that Simmons may end up losing out on a bit of money with the 76ers getting the No. 1 overall pick. On Monday, it was reported by The Vertical that Simmons was holding off on signing a shoe deal until after the lottery ended in order to see if the Lakers could move up to the No. 1 spot. Had that happened, it is believed he would have been able to extract a bit more money out of Nike, the preferred company of Simmons' agency, Klutch Sports -- the agency of LeBron James.
If Rich Paul and company can steer Simmons to Los Angeles by convincing the 76ers to pass on him -- maybe by not having him work out there, or by tanking an interview there -- maybe it will all work out for the best. But with Simmons currently sitting at No. 1 on my mock draft here at CBS Sports, it's not looking great in that regard.
At a certain point, you have to feel for the former general manager of the 76ers. He did a lot of the hard part for Philadelphia. He cleared out boatloads of filler and nondescript talent for lottery picks and future talent, filling cupboard with assets for a bright future. Then, just as he was set to grab possibly the biggest piece of that puzzle, the carpet was yanked out from under him and he was usurped by the Colangelo family.
Don't mistake it, Colangelo will likely do a good job here, too. He's a well-credentialed former general manager who has done a good job in acquiring talent through the draft. But it's a bit unfair that Hinkie won't get to see this project through now that it has a chance to really blossom.
Currently, I have Dunn as the No. 4 player in this draft behind Simmons, Ingram, and Bender. His combination of length, athleticism, and court vision is unparalleled in this draft at point guard, and he's by far the No. 1 prospect at his position.
Still, the board didn't exactly shake out in a great way for him. Had the Lakers or 76ers gotten No. 3, there's a good chance he would have been the selection. Ditto for the Pelicans, Kings, Bucks, Jazz, or Bulls. However, the way the board shakes out currently isn't terrific for point guards in that area. At No. 3, the Celtics have Marcus Smart and Isaiah Thomas. At No. 4, it's Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight. No. 5 sees the fast-developing Ricky Rubio there. No. 6 is really the first spot that makes any modicum of sense, and even the Pelicans have a couple of options there in Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans, although both are free agents at the end of the season. Then if he falls past that, No. 7 is Denver, who took its point guard of the future last year in Emmanuel Mudiay. Basically, with this current draft board, the market for Dunn is much lower than his talent should indicate. I have him currently at No. 6, but the Pelicans franchise isn't exactly the most stable in the NBA right now, so I'm not sure they'd be the team I'd want to rely on.
It's a point guard-heavy league right now, and Dunn has a chance to really add to that strength with his skill set. Also, given the relative lack of depth at the position in this draft, I think there are a few good opportunities for teams to move up to grab Dunn at in the No. 3 through 5 range. But that's pretty speculative at this point. What isn't quite as speculative is that the board didn't do Dunn any favors at this current juncture.