Sixers get 3rd and 10th lottery picks

Posted: May 22, 2014

NEW YORK - As the NBA workers shuffled the media across busy Seventh Avenue to get into the Times Square Studios for the NBA draft lottery, a man stood on the corner holding a sign that said "Psychic Visions."

If you follow the 76ers, the temptation had to be to stop and get the guy's thoughts. But there was no time for that as the future of the team was just yards, and minutes, away.

That's when we all learned the Sixers had secured the 10th pick in the draft, via last year's trade with the New Orleans Pelicans, and then won the third overall pick. The ever-lucky Cleveland Cavaliers got the top pick, followed by the Milwaukee Bucks.

Philly fans, it might be time to get yourselves familiar with Duke swingman Jabari Parker.

Head coach Brett Brown knew exactly how to deal with the anxiety of the night. While the higher-ups in the 76ers organization, including owner Josh Harris and general manager Sam Hinkie, were sweating through the droppage of pingpong balls, the head coach kept himself occupied by sitting on a plane headed to Los Angeles, where he'll oversee workouts by potential draft picks.

Chief executive officer Scott O'Neil was a ball of nervous energy, saying he had to take a jog in the park during the afternoon just to work off some of his anxiety. As he talked a couple of hours before the results, his heels still weren't hitting the ground. He showed his lucky charms - a folded $2 bill and a plastic bag holding three cocoa beans.

Afterward, the mood wasn't as euphoric as it would have been if they had gotten the first or second pick. But the Sixers seemed relieved that they hadn't dropped further from their projected No. 2 spot.

"You sort of know the odds," said Hinkie. "We talk 364 days a year about controlling what you can control and not worry about the rest. We'd be phonies if we got to here and felt any differently. We're really excited."

In the past 20 years the team has had seven total picks in the top 10, and while Allen Iverson chosen at No. 1 in 1996 easily is the cream of the crop, the choices of Evan Turner (second in 2010), Andre Iguodala (ninth in 2004), Larry Hughes (eighth in 1998), Keith Van Horne (second in 1997), Jerry Stackhouse (third in 1995) and Sharone Wright (sixth in 1994) don't exactly bring a load of optimism for high picks turning around an organization.

But with so many pieces needed for a team that won just 19 of its 82 games and boasts a roster that includes many marginal-at-best NBA players, two picks in the top 10 of a draft considered to be strong is a nice piece with which to build. Sixers great Julius Erving said as much when asked on the television coverage about what the Sixers need to get the organization back to where it wants to be.

"A lot of things" he responded.

"There's a lot of work to be done," Hinkie said. "A lot of players have to come in, they have to [take] physicals, meet with various teams. I suspect that most of the top players in this draft find Philadelphia a really attractive place because they want to be in a place where they'll have opportunity, they want to play in a big market and they recognize what a platform it is to play in Philadelphia. They want to get better and they realize that Philadelphia is a place, with our coaching staff and our roster, you can come and play and get better.

"We're pleased to have ended up where we did."

Now the work will get a little bit more specific as to whom they may look to target with their choices. Now there is a focal point as to what type of players could best fit the type of schemes that Brown is going to implement moving forward. The plan, one that is long-term in the words of the head coach, doesn't really change, though.

"Not at all," Hinkie said. "Nor did it today and nor will it tomorrow. I fly to LA [today] for a bunch of workouts that won't include any of these guys, that will include guys that will be picked later in the draft and other places. I think you hear a lot about the guys at the top, but I think you hear as well it's deeper than people think. They don't always necessarily come in the exact order. I think teams draft better over time. It's harder to find a steal, but at the same time I think a lot of these players can help. You ask me today, we're excited about the players we might be able to get and add them into our program. I could get really comfortable, one through five, that we can find players that could really help us. The fact that we ended up with the third pick and the 10th pick in a draft like this is reason to be excited."

Notes

Commissioner Adam Silver spoke before the draft lottery and most of the conversation, not surprisingly, centered on embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Said Silver, among other things: "My confidence level is high. We know we're doing the right thing and I know I have the owners behind me. This is an unprecedented proceeding. This will all get worked out." He then referred to Kevin Durant's heartfelt MVP speech in which he honored his mother, a single parent who endured hardship and made sacrifices. "He said, addressing his mother, 'We weren't supposed to be here. The deck was stacked against us.' He embodies what this league is about and, frankly, Mr. Sterling doesn't. The state of the league is fantastic. It's a renaissance for basketball in this country and increasingly globally, and I think our best years are ahead of us." . . . Julius Erving had sort of a quizzical look on his face when they pulled the Sixers logo for the 10th pick. Most were anticipating a Pelicans logo, with the Sixers owning that pick. He was quickly told all was well . . . Miraculously, Cleveland moved up from the ninth spot to land the top pick. It is the third time in 4 years the Cavaliers have gotten the top choice.


On Twitter: @BobCooney76

Blog: ph.ly/Sixerville

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