The tides of NBA draft lottery reform swept in over the summer as the Sixers continued their unprecedented institutional tank job, and swept right out when 13 franchises stunningly blocked a quick attempt by the league to neuter Philadelphia's approach. The league needed 23 teams to vote for lottery reform, but only got 17.
Now that we're halfway through the regular season, we have a pretty good idea which teams the reform refusal will affect in May when ping pong balls determine the 2015 NBA Draft order. And as it turns out, this season the only team that voted against reform and will benefit from its failure is ... the Sixers!
In all, four teams benefit from the failure of lottery reform. Assuming the standings hold, the Knicks' odds of landing No. 1 are more than doubled in the absence of lotto reform. The two worst teams (currently the Knicks and Wolves) are now guaranteed a top-five pick; under lottery reform, they'd have 56 percent odds at staying in the top five. The Sixers likewise have a somewhat better chance at No. 1 and a much, much better chance at the top five in the absence of lottery reform.
Perhaps the team that benefits most from the failure of lottery reform, though, is the Los Angeles Lakers, who lose their pick to Phoenix if it falls outside the top five. Currently, the Lakers are the fourth-worst team in the NBA. Under existing odds, if the standings hold, the Lakers have an 83 percent likelihood of keeping their pick. Had lottery reform passed, they would have had just a 56 percent probability of keeping their pick.
Hilariously, the Lakers voted for lottery reform and the Suns voted against it. The votes were likely made with the long term in mind, but considering the immediate implications, that's a funny distinction.
Six teams that would have directly benefited from lottery reform as of right now did vote for it: the Celtics, Magic, Pacers, Kings, Nuggets and Rockets. Perhaps they'll all try again next fall and hope that the Jazz, Pistons, Hornets, Thunder and Suns plus one more team join them.
It's unlikely the Sixers will put up as huge a fight in the future. A one- or two-year delay for lottery reform is all Sam Hinkie really needed to carry out his rebuild plan anyway.