By Justin Boylan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – As the days grow longer, warmer and brighter, the potential for darkness lurks closer. Tonight, those innocent, bouncing ping-pong balls will decide the fate of the Philadelphia 76ers. “Together We Build” is fine, but in reality, it’s “Together We Find Out If Hitting Rock Bottom Was Worth The Fall.” It just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Everything up until now has been a preamble to this. The changing of the guard in the front office, a new head coach, a revolving door of unknown players and a 26-game losing streak, it was all leading to what will be the new-look franchise’s most important moment. It just so happens that moment is nothing more than a random drawing that won’t last longer than a halftime show. I don’t mean to put too much pressure on something we can’t control, screw it, nothing else matters.
The M1-strong tank we witnessed for 82 games gives the Sixers a 19.9% chance of winning the lottery, as you may have heard. Since this format was introduced in 1985, the team with the second-worst record has landed the top pick four times (14% of the time). It happened in 2009, and the Clippers got Blake Griffin. Before that, it was 1996 and the 76ers were in the same position they’re in now. That story ended in Allen Iverson. History repeats. Add an additional top-10 pick courtesy of the New Orleans Pelicans, and Powerball millionaires got nothing on Sam Hinkie.
Now the bad, because hope for the best but prepare for the worst. The Sixers are guaranteed a top-5 pick. At 32%, the odds say their most likely selection spot is fourth overall. Please no.
If any team other than the Bucks gets lucky, then the 76ers are likely bumped out of the top two, and the dream is dead. You also have to face the fact that the Celtics and Lakers are two of the league’s most important franchises and both are in the bottom six. Either one catapulting into the top 3 would just join the list of NBA lottery conspiracy theories. Please, no.
And then there’s the nightmare scenario that my brain can barely send to my fingers to type because my heart can’t take it. The Pelicans and their 1.1% chance take the top prize, while the Sixers pick fifth. Only fifth. Just so you know, a team with less than 2% odds has won the lottery twice. PLEASE NO.
No matter what happens, you’ll need to have a reasonable reaction. I’ve got a few suggestions.
If the 76ers win the lottery! (Or stay at No. 2!):
Pop bottles, get black-out drunk (don’t really).
Attend the Liberty Ballers/Rights To Ricky Sanchez Lottery Party, collect your Hinkie t-shirt, frame it and wait for it to appreciate.
Ecstatically sprint down Broad St. in your Tony Wroten jersey, which will double as practice for the parades this pick will bring.
2014-15 full season tickets are available for purchase.
Spend the rest of the night on your computer like Don Jon, start with some stills then work your way to the YouTube highlight videos and mixtapes.
Blast that 76ers anthem nonstop until June 26th, or until your neighbors call the cops.
Any other lottery result:
Break bottles, get black-out drunk (again, not really).
That Hinkie t-shirt you got, light a match.
Eagles’ single-game tickets are on sale.
Visit the Walt Whitman Bridge, swan dive.
Ride the bandwagon to Miami while simultaneously becoming a diehard Heat fan, celebrate titles on titles on titles, or leave before the game ends when it looks like they might lose.
Cry, cry again.
[DISCLAIMER: THE LISTS ABOVE ARE NOT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY. PLEASE AVOID DOING BODILY HARM TO YOURSELF AS A RESULT OF THE NBA LOTTERY.]