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Tuesday's NBA draft lottery could be more important than the draft to the 76ers

Depending on the lottery outcome, the 76ers could trade a draft pick or player for an A-list veteran.

CHICAGO - Bryan Colangelo said the 76ers have been energized all year about the June 22 NBA draft.

The team's president of basketball operations has even conducted multiple scouting retreats to talk about targeted prospects.

But in a way, Tuesday night's draft lottery in New York is perhaps bigger than the actual draft.

"I think the lottery day itself is a benchmark of sorts for where we go from here," Colangelo said at the NBA draft combine. "It's going to determine the course of action in some cases to what we might do. We got a scenario."

The Sixers will know for sure once the full draft order is set somewhere between 8 and 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

The Sixers have a 14.7 percent chance to end up with the top pick by finishing with the fourth-worst record (28-54) and having the right to swap first-round picks with Sacramento. Without the pick swap, the Sixers would have an 11.9 percent chance to win.

They will also get the Los Angeles Lakers' first-round pick if it isn't in the top three at the lottery. So the Sixers have a 53.1 percent chance of having two picks in the top seven.

They are guaranteed a top seven pick. However, the Lakers would slide to six if the Sixers finished seventh. The Sixers would receive both picks in that scenario.

But that's unlikely to happen. The Lakers have a 4.0 percent chance of finishing sixth, while the Sixers' chance to finish seventh is 1.2 percent.

So the worst-case scenario for the Sixers would be finishing sixth while the Lakers keep their pick.

"Or we can end up with the best case [in which] we are one and four," Colangelo said. "That's a large swing in terms of what we would be bringing into our group. So there are some things that are exciting about this."

Being here enabled the Sixers to "kick start" some dialogue with other teams in regards to possible trades. Don't rule out Colangelo making some sort of move, especially if the Sixers get two first-round picks to go with four in the second round - Nos. 36, 39, 46 and 50.

With a lot of developing players already taking up minutes, the team can't afford to add six more rookies to the mix. They need to acquire veteran players to balance things out and mentor the young guys.

So, assuming the Sixers get the first and fourth picks, no one would fault them for trading the fourth pick for the right price.

They could attempt to trade the pick, a player - possibly Jahlil Okafor - and one or two of their second-round picks in a package that delivers an A-list veteran in return. That's just one of many scenarios the Sixers would have.

That's why it was critical for the Sixers to talk to the number of projected mid to late first-rounders as they did this week. They could replace a traded player with a valued pick in the second round.

"There's going to be players with talent that slide down," Colangelo said. "You're always hoping to . . . find that diamond in the rough, a guy that's a sleeper. . . . But in particular the top picks, either 36 or 37 and 39, we think that there's going to be some players on the board that are fairly interesting."

It will also be interesting to see if the Sixers draft an up-and-coming European player in the second round and stash him overseas for a couple of seasons.

Colangelo and vice president of player personnel Marc Eversley recently spent two weeks in Europe scouting talent. They may head back overseas to attend the EuroLeague Final Four next weekend.