There’s one big reason why the fans (and front offices) of both the Sixers and Heat won’t want to win tonight’s game: Miami’s first-round draft pick.
No matter tonight’s outcome, the fate of the pick will not be totally sealed. Miami is locked into finishing 10th or 11th from the bottom. Period. Nothing can change that. And the lottery has many tricks up its sleeve. But here’s what it comes down to: If the Heat finish with the 10th worst record, the Sixers have a 9.1% of lucking into their (the Heat’s) top-10 protected lottery pick. If the Heat finish 11th, those odds jump to 97.1%, and it’s up to the lottery to screw the Sixers over.
So why would both teams want to lose? If the Heat lose …
- Miami is locked into the 10 spot, giving the Sixers only a 9.1% chance at getting their pick.
If the Sixers lose and …
- The Magic beat the Nets:
- Miami and Brooklyn will tie for the 10th spot in the lottery.
- Both teams will split the balls for the 10 and 11 spot, with one team winning a coin-flip for one extra ping-pong ball and who would draft first if neither team jumps into the top 3. If the Heat were to lose that coin-flip, the Sixers would have their 97.1% chance at the pick.
- The Knicks beat the Pistons:
- The Sixers and Knicks will tie for the second spot in the lottery.
- The Sixers gain up to 22 more ping-pong balls and have a better chance at jumping up to the first or second pick.
So let’s go Sixers… but also also the Heat and the Magic and the Knicks. The association!