The NBA will hold its draft lottery for the 23d time tomorrow, and unfortunately, the 76ers have had to make the trip to Secaucus, N.J., for nearly half of them. Since its inception in 1985, the lottery has included the teams that haven't made the playoffs.
Currently seeded 12th in the 14-team lottery field, the Sixers will be making their 11th trip to the podium, including their third appearance in the last four years.
That is not counting 1986, when the Sixers had the first pick in the draft through a 1979 trade that sent Joe Bryant to the San Diego Clippers. They dealt the pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Roy Hinson and cash. The Cavs took Brad Daugherty, who made the NBA's all-rookie team in 1986-87 and went on to play in five All-Star Games.
In tomorrow's lottery, it's likely that the Sixers will stay at No. 12. Under lottery rules, the Sixers can move up to the top three spots, stay at 12, or move down to 13 or 14.
And even the most ardent optimist will have to come to the realization that the Sixers likely aren't moving up - or down, for that matter. According to the NBA, the Sixers have a 93.54 percent chance of earning the No. 12 pick.
The Sixers have just a 7-in-1,000 chance of gaining the top pick. Their chances of getting the second pick are 0.83 percent; the third, 1.01 percent.
The only way the Sixers would move down would be for the No. 13 seed, New Orleans, or the 14th-seeded Los Angeles Clippers to land one of the top three spots. The Sixers have a 3.90 percent chance of moving down to 13th and a 0.02 percent chance of being 14th.
In the last 10 lotteries, the Sixers have moved up from their original seeding five times and selected at the spot at which they were seeded five times. The Sixers have never moved down. In 1996, they were seeded second to Vancouver, but technically were first. That's because neither Vancouver nor Toronto could not select first because of an expansion agreement.
When Toronto won the lottery, the top pick went to the Sixers, who were second. The Sixers used that pick to select Allen Iverson.
The only time the Sixers were seeded sixth or lower and moved up was 1988. That year, all seven non-playoff qualifiers had an equal chance of earning the top pick. Each was given one envelope in the drawing.
The lottery adopted a weighted system in 1990 and refined it in 1994, making it more difficult for the lower teams to move up.
Last season, Toronto was the fifth-seeded team and landed the top pick. In 2005, Milwaukee was the sixth-seeded team and got the top selection.
The lowest seed to earn the No. 1 selection was New Jersey in 2000. The Nets were seeded seventh and had just a 4.4 percent chance of getting the top pick.
A team with the No. 12 seed hasn't moved from that spot since 1999, when Seattle actually went down to 13th after the then-Charlotte Hornets moved from 13th to No. 3. Charlotte had had just a 0.73 chance of getting the No. 3 pick that season.
The Sixers would need similar luck to move up among the top three this time.
Luck of the Draw
The 76ers have just a 0.70 percent chance to get the No. 1 pick and a 0.83 chance at the second pick in the NBA draft lottery, which means there's virtually no shot at getting either Ohio State's Greg Oden or Texas' Kevin Durant.
The Sixers actually have a better chance of moving down spots, with a 3.90 percent chance at moving down to 13th and a 0.02 percent of being 14th.
The Sixers have moved up five times in the NBA draft lottery but not since 1997.
Year Seed Selection
1988 6 Third overall*
1992 9 Ninth overall
1993 5 Second overall**
1994 6 Sixth overall
1995 4 Third overall
1996 2 First overall***
1997 5 Second overall****
1998 8 Eighth overall
2004 9 Ninth overall
2006 13 Thirteenth overall
2007 12 ?
*Selected Pittburgh's Charles Smith, then traded him to the Los Angeles Clippers for Hersey Hawkins and a 1989 first-round pick.
**Selected Brigham Young's Shawn Bradley.
***Selected Georgetown's Allen Iverson.
****Selected Utah's Keith Van Horn, then traded him along with Lucious Harris, Michael Cage and Don MacLean to the New Jersey Nets for Tim Thomas, Anthony Parker, Jim Jackson and Eric Montross.