Sixers play draft lottery and land the third pick

Draft Lottery Basketball-16052017-0001
Boston Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck (left); Magic Johnson (center), president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers; and 76ers center Joel Embiid at the NBA draft lottery.

NEW YORK - What's not to like?

The 76ers did not receive the first and fourth overall picks - the best-case scenario - in the NBA draft. However, they still walked away pretty pleased Tuesday night after the draft lottery. They will select third on June 22. The pick came from the Sacramento Kings.

This will mark their fourth consecutive year selecting a top-three pick.

The Boston Celtics will pick first overall, while the Los Angeles Lakers will select second.

Poll

Should the 76ers draft Lonzo Ball if he is available?

The Sixers received the rights to swap picks with the Kings in a 2015 trade that former general manager Sam Hinkie engineered, which included Nik Stauskas. The Sixers would have had the fifth pick if not for the swap. Sacramento also will have the 10th pick in the draft.

"Thank you, Sam Hinkie," Sixers managing owner Josh Harris said. "He set us up well. I'm going to text him tonight and give him a big kiss over text. It's all good."

The Sixers had hoped to gain the Lakers' pick, also acquired in a trade. But Los Angeles had to finish out of the top three for that to happen.

Meanwhile, the Sixers had a 14.7 percent chance of winning the lottery because they finished with the league's fourth-worst record and had the right to swap picks with the Kings.

"I feel terrible for Sacramento in this case, but that's the game that we play," Sixers president Bryan Colangelo said.

The Sixers will receive the Lakers' unprotected 2018 first-round pick. They also will get the Kings' unprotected first-rounder in 2019.

This isn't a bad draft to have the third overall pick. That's because the Sixers' biggest needs are an additional ball handler to go with Ben Simmons and a shooter. Washington point guard Markelle Fultz fulfills both of those needs.

The Celtics already have a two-time all-star point guard in Isaiah Thomas. So it's possible that they'll opt to go in a different direction in the draft. The Lakers have a young point guard in D'Angelo Russell. They could add Fultz or go for homegrown talent in UCLA product Lonzo Ball if they want to try to upgrade the position. Los Angeles could opt to go to another position, possibly grabbing Kansas swingman Josh Jackson.

So there's still a slim chance that Fultz could slide to the Sixers. According to a source, Fultz was disappointed that the Sixers didn't get the first pick. He wanted to come to Philadelphia. He thought he could become a star quicker, according to the source.

"We like to predict and model out what other teams might do," Colangelo said. "I don't want to share that here. . . .. But they've got decisions to make just like we do.

"They are going to assess what they have on their current roster and make decisions from there."

Assuming Fultz is off the board, the Sixers will still have plenty of solid options. Kentucky shooting guard Malik Monk fulfills a shooting need. However, the Sixers could also add quality players in Jackson or Ball, if available; Kentucky point guard De'Aaron Fox; or Duke swingman Jayson Tatum.

The Sixers hope the player they select can become a cornerstone alongside Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Dario Saric.

"I think we're in a pretty good position as there is some turnover on the horizon to ultimately be a power in the East," Colangelo said. "How long that takes, we've got a couple of paths we can take here."

The Sixers could still go down the "measured, organic growth path" or speed things up with free-agent acquisitions and/or trades. Colangelo said they are going to look at both ways.

One thing is for sure. They don't want to be at the lottery next season because of their own struggles.

"I want to be done with this building," Harris said. "I'm ready to be playing [in the playoffs] at this time. I'm really ready. It's a great event. But it's time to move on . . .

"I want to be . . . where Wyc [Grousbeck] was today. I want my team playing and I'm up here doing this."

Grousbeck is the CEO, governor, and co-owner of the Celtics. Boston will host the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday. However, the Celtics won the lottery thanks to a pick swap with the last-place Brooklyn Nets from a previous trade.

kpompey@phillynews.com

@PompeyOnSixers

www.philly.com/Sixersblog