Designed to stop teams from trying to improve via tanking, which is what Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie did last season and apparently is going to do again in 2014-15, the league's plan is to take the bottom four to six teams and give them equal chances at landing the No. 1 overall pick. The odds decrease for the rest of the lottery clubs.
Under the current system, the team with the worst record has a 25 percent shot at ending up No. 1, with the second-worst club at 19.9 percent and so on.
Hinkie traded three of the Sixers' top six players (Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen) at the Feb. 20 trade deadline from a team in the midst of what would become a 26-game losing streak. They finished 19-63, which was the second-worst mark and gained the No. 3 pick in June's draft.
The Sixers also had the No. 10 selection via Hinkie's Jrue Holiday June 2013 trade with the Pelicans. Hinkie took Kansas center Joel Embiid, who is expected to sit out the season due to a foot stress fracture, at No. 3 and moved down from No. 10 in a trade with the Magic in which they acquired Croatian forward Dario Saric, who is committed to playing professionally in Turkey for at least two years, and a pair of draft choices.
The Sixers haven't signed any free agents this summer despite being more than $30 million below the salary cap. They'd lose their first-round pick from the ill-advised trade for Arnett Moultrie if they qualify for the playoffs in 2014-15, too.
Given a subpar roster lacking in size, perimeter shooting, depth and experience, the Sixers seem to be on course to win fewer than 25 games again this season.
The ESPN.com story, citing unnamed sources, said the Sixers "are hoping to get the NBA to delay plans for at least a year because it acts as a de facto punishment while just playing by the rules that have been in place."
The story also said sources claimed the Sixers' "planned sink to the bottom has caused a drag on revenues in one of the league's largest markets and has upset some teams."
The league probably didn't appreciate managing owner Josh Harris telling the media on April 18 how last season was "a huge success for us" before the Sixers even knew what pick they would get.Change is coming to the NBA draft lottery, but the team most likely to be impacted if proposed adjustments are implemented is tapping the brakes.
A major overhaul will be voted on by the NBA Board of Governors in October that would bring balanced odds of landing the top pick to almost every team entered in the lottery process. At present, that comprises the 14 teams with the worst regular-season record.
ESPN reported the 76ers are strongly opposing that change.
Philadelphia unloaded many of its assets last season and posted a 19-63 record, but still wound up drafting third overall behind the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks. The season included a 26-game losing streak, but it was the Bucks who posted the worst record in the league.
To prevent teams from tanking as a means for improving chances at the highest picks in the next draft, commissioner Adam Silver is on board with giving the four or five worst teams equal chances at the No. 1 overall pick and only slightly reducing the probability any team that finishes with the fifth-worst through 14th-worst final record can also score the first pick.
Philadelphia owned two lottery picks in June, drafting Kansas center Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. Neither player is expected to be a major contributor as a rookie.
Because the 76ers went full bore toward a rebuild last season, the front office is pushing the NBA to put off any sweeping change to the draft or lottery system for another year in the name of strategic planning fairness.
In turn, Silver could choose to shrug off the concerns of the 76ers, who helped spur the major alterations by employing the very strategy the NBA is decrying.