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May 14, 2019

Here's how the Sixers can get Zion Williamson

There's a chance, a very very slim chance, that "The Process" (now trademarked by Joel Embiid) is not completely over. Sam Hinkie might still have a gift to give.. 

The Sixers have a one-percent chance of winning Tuesday night's NBA Draft Lottery (airing at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN). This is thanks to a trade way back in the Hinkie era with the Kings — who were looking to free cap space to sign Rajon Rondo — that netted the Sixers the Kings' 2019 first rounder and some salary.

Two drafts ago, the Sixers traded up to take Markelle Fultz, and sent the aforementioned pick to the Celtics, with one protection: Philly keeps it if it falls at No. 1. 

The odds are incredibly low, as the Kings finished with the best record in the regular season among non playoff teams. But there is still a chance. 

And interestingly, in the 30 NBA drafts since the league formatted the lottery into its current form (give or take a few percentage points per slot), teams with the longest odds have actually struck gold more than once.

Here are the 10 longest shots that have won the NBA Draft Lottery:

YearTeam Odds Pick
1993Magic1.52%Chris Webber
2014Cavaliers1.70%Andrew Wiggins
2008Bulls1.70%Derrick Rose
2011 Clippers2.8%Kyrie Irving
2000Nets4.4%Kenyon Martin
2007Blazers5.3%Greg Oden
2005Bucks 6.3% Andrew Bogut
2006Raptors 8.8%Andrea Bargnani
2002Rockets8.9%Yao Ming
 1995Warriors9.4%Joe Smith

Moving past the fact the ridiculous notion that Andrea Bargnani, Andrew Bogut, Joe Smith and Kenyon Martin were actually NBA first overall picks, it's clear that the ping pong ball does what it wants.

It's worth noting that 18 times since 1988 a team with one of the three worst records (and therefore best odds) has won the lottery, compared to 12 times that a team in the 4-to-14 spot. The chances are one in a hundred for the Sixers, who share the worst lottery odds with the Hornets and Heat.

The Sixers, if they won, would undoubtedly draft Duke's Zion Williamson. It's hard to really project what the heck their team would look like with 6-foot-7, 285 pound Williamson alongside 6-foot-10 Ben Simmons, 7-foot-3 Joel Embiid and potentially 6-foot-8 Jimmy Butler and 6-foot-9 Tobias Harris next season (should the duo of free agents return), but it's probably safe to say it would be a pretty good problem to have.

In the unlikely event that Philly wins the lottery, they would send their 24th overall pick to Boston instead.

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