After going 19-63 in the first season of the Sam Hinkie-Brett Brown era, the Philadelphia 76ers enter Tuesday's 2014 NBA draft lottery with the league's second-best chance of coming away with the No. 1 overall selection in this June's draft. That's right — not even an NBA-record-tying 26-game losing streak was enough to push the Sixers below — or, I suppose, above — the abysmal Milwaukee Bucks for the league's worst record and best lottery odds. (Get excited, Wisconsin!)
While the Bucks have a one-in-four shot of staying at No. 1, the 76ers' odds of leapfrogging Milwaukee into the top spot stand at 19.9 percent ... and Philly's looking to give those odds a boost with an interesting (if dangerous!) little good-luck charm. From Max Rappaport of Sixers.com:
Philadelphia sports talk station 97.5 The Fanatic FM ran a contest earlier this month in which fans submitted their own lucky charms for the Sixers to bring to the Lottery. After a two week-long submission process and a day of voting to decide between five finalists, an entry from Cherry Hill native Jake Spencer was selected.
His lucky charm? An actual piece of the glass backboard that was shattered by prolific Sixer dunker Darryl “Chocolate Thunder” Dawkins during a game against the San Antonio Spurs at the Spectrum on December 5, 1979.
This seems like a good place for a video of Dawkins shattering backboards. The dunk in question is the second in this clip:
“These backboard pieces would make the perfect lucky charm and bring back the Sixers good mojo from the late-‘70s and early-'80s championship years," Spencer wrote in his submission. "The pieces are small enough so that they will easily fit into the pocket of our Draft Lottery representative. We would love if our family’s item could bring a top pick to the Sixers!”
If it does, it'd go a long way toward helping us buy owner Josh Harris' claim that the 19-63 campaign was a "huge success." If it doesn't ... well, we'll just hope that Sixers representative Julius "Dr. J" Erving doesn't get flustered, forget that he has broken glass in his pocket, and thrust his hands in there as he angrily walks away in search of a can to kick. That could add injury to insult for the good Doctor.
Whether the busted backboard boosts the Sixers to No. 1 not, Spencer will reportedly receive four lower-level Sixers season tickets in 2014-15, which seems like a pretty decent haul for a couple of shards ... provided, of course, the 76ers aren't sleep-inducing next season.
After the Bucks and 76ers, the Orlando Magic, Utah Jazz and Boston Celtics round out the top five in terms of lottery odds. You can check out the full pre-lottery 2014 NBA draft order here. If you're wondering what the best- and worst-case scenarios for Philadelphia might look like, I'd suggest checking out these rundowns by Rappaport and Andrew Unterberger of The 700 Level.
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