By Jack Ryan

The Sixers finally reversed their NBA draft lottery curse!

Yes, the three-year stretch of rebuilding and losing a boatload of games has culminated in a No. 1 overall draft pick.

The Sixers, with the NBA’s worst record this season, had the best chance to land the coveted pick entering last night’s lottery — and did just that for the first time in 20 years when they took Allen Iverson (above with coach Larry Brown).

Sixers executives celebrated inside the New York Hilton Midtown with hugs and cheers. “We deserved this,” they repeated to each other. The 76ers had the third overall pick each of the past two drafts.

“The city has endured a lot over the past three seasons,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said. “Our fans deserve this. … You just get a flood of memories when you hear you have the first pick. It just ties it all (together). I’m very thrilled for our organization.

“I never felt jinxed. I never felt jinxed. I truly believe in what we’re doing. I feel like in many ways we’re being rewarded for our patience and perseverance — especially the city’s patience and perseverance.”

The top prize is valuable in this draft in particular.

Ben Simmons, the Australian star point forward from LSU, and Brandon Ingram, the freakishly athletic forward from Duke, are both considered gems of this class. There’s a clear dropoff afterward.

That meant Tuesday was a big night as well for the organization that landed the second pick: The Lakers. Los Angeles, which had a top-three-protected pick, averted disaster (falling out of the top three and losing the pick entirely) and will get whichever star the 76ers do not select.

The Boston Celtics earned the No. 3 pick, and the rest of the lottery went as the odds would suggest; there will be no teams selecting out of order of how they finished the regular season.

Brown, the 76ers coach, said he does not know at this point whether his organization will choose Simmons or Ingram, though many in the league expect Philadelphia to take the versatile Simmons.

Brown brought up a personal connection to Simmons Tuesday night that hasn’t been well-publicized. Brown coached Simmons’ father, Dave, when he worked as an assistant coach for the Melbourne Tigers in the late 1980s into the early ‘90s. Brown also went on to coach the Australian national team.

“I coached Ben’s father a long time ago; I’ve known Ben since he was born,” Brown said. “I’ve known his family since the late ‘80s. Just having that knowledge of where he was raised, understanding that culture — I also lived 17 years in Australia. There are a lot of different connections (related to that) that I think help make me better informed. This will help our organization make a more calculated decision. He’s obviously an extremely talented young man who comes from a great family.”

The draft order:


2. Los Angeles Lakers

3. Boston Celtics

4. Phoenix Suns

5. Minnesota Timberwolves

6. New Orleans Pelicans

7. Denver Nuggets

8. Sacramento Kings

9. Toronto Raptors

10. Milwaukee Bucks

11. Orlando Magic

12. Utah Jazz

13. Phoenix Suns

14. Chicago Bulls

About admin

Loading Facebook Comments ...

Leave a Reply