NEW YORK — The Philadelphia 76ers were slated in to have the second overall pick in the draft before the results of Tuesday night’s lottery were revealed, and had the second best chance of landing the top overall pick based on lottery probabilities.
But thanks to the Jrue Holiday trade with the Pelicans last summer, the Sixers also were set to receive the 10th pick from New Orleans, as long as it didn’t land in the top five — something that apparently wasn’t conveyed to Julius Erving, who was Philadelphia’s representative on stage at ESPN’s Times Square studios.
Dr. J clearly had no idea what was going on when the card featuring the Philadelphia logo was revealed by deputy commissioner Mark Tatum as he announced where the 10th pick was headed, and the topic was good for a chuckle afterward from Sixers GM Sam Hinkie.
“They sort of pulled the okie-doke with the change in the logos,” Hinkie said. “They did the same with the Magic and the Knicks pick (at 12). I think maybe some people weren’t ready for that. I told some of our friends around us: That’s good. That’s us. Don’t worry.”
Erving admitted to being confused initially by the possibility that his team could have fallen so far, given the odds going in.
“When I saw 10, I was perplexed,” Erving said. “What the heck? We’ve got the second-most ping pong balls and we’re 10? I almost felt bad, but then (Orlando Magic representative) Pat Williams gave me the light, and when they started announcing what had happened and that we had the tenth pick, then it was OK.”