The Sixers and Magic are currently tied for the league’s 4th best lottery odds. When that happens, each tied team receives the average of the total number of combinations for the positions that they occupy. So you take the total number of ping-pong ball combos for #4 and #5, add them together, and each team gets half. But if that tie is broken with the Sixers on the losing (but lottery winning) end, they’re sitting in their best-case scenario.

current standings

The Sixers and Orlando both have three games left. The Sixers play Milwaukee, Indiana, and the Knicks. The Magic play the Pacers, Bulls, and Pistons. It seems unlikely, but the Sixers just need Orlando to win one more game than they win. If so, their current odds at a top-3 and #1 pick jump from 33.7% and 10.4% in the tie situation to 37.8% and 11.9% in 4th. If they fall cleanly behind the Magic (no tie), they drop to 29.2% and 8.8%. The odds get even better when you add in the Kings’ odds.

Because of the pick swap, you can just add the Kings’ odds at #1 and top-3 right on to the Sixers’. Currently, Sacramento is in a tie as well, with Minnesota, with four games left. Depending on where they land, Sacramento’s pick can add a full 15% chance to a top-3 Sixers pick and a 4.3% chance at the number one pick. That’d bring the Sixers’ best case numbers up to 52.8% and 16.2%. Those are better numbers, in both cases, than LA has in the third-best spot. And if LA stays there – Phoenix has a 1.5 game hold on the #2 odds spot – the Sixers will have a 53.1% chance at getting the Lakers pick and a 49% chance that it’s #4 or 5. In layman’s terms: If the Lakers land in the #3 odds spot, the Sixers land at #4, and the Kings land at #7, the Sixers have better odds than the Lakers do at a top-3 pick and a #1 pick, while also possessing strong odds of getting the Lakers’ pick.

When the balls fall, the balls fall. But the Sixers are just a couple of games away from being set up in the best possible attainable situation.