NEW YORK (AFP) - The Philadelphia 76ers were handed the number one overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft on Tuesday, handing the franchise a vital boost as they attempt to rebuild after yet another disastrous season.
The Sixers finished with a league worst 10-72 this season, lurching from one crisis to the next as they stumbled to a record losing streak of 28 straight defeats. Being awarded first choice in the draft gives the Sixers a chance to kickstart the rebuilding process.
"It gives us the injection that we need," said 76ers coach Brett Brown, who represented the franchise on stage during the lottery. "We're all excited around our program to begin with."
The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics were handed the second and third choice draft picks respectively. Phoenix was handed the number four pick while Minnesota received the fifth choice.
The outcome of the draw was broadly in line with statistical projections. New Orleans, Denver, Sacramento, Toronto and Milwaukee round out the top ten. Orlando, Utah, Phoenix and Chicago have picks Nos. 11-14.
The omens for Philadelphia's first choice are good. The last time they had first pick, in 1996, they selected future Hall of Famer Allen Iverson. Philadelphia have benefited from the number three picks in each of the past two drafts, snapping up Duke's Jahlil Okafor in 2015 and Kansas' Joel Embiid two years ago.
Sixers co-managing owner Josh Harris said he hoped the franchise could now turn the corner.
"Last three years were brutally hard," said Harris, referring to his team's 47-199 aggregate record during that stretch.
"This has been our plan, and we're sticking with our plan and we're moving forward."
Australian forward Ben Simmons is tipped by many to be the first draft pick. The 19-year-old freshman at Louisiana State has a connection with Brown, who coached Australia from 1995 until 2012, including three years as head coach.
"I've known Ben since he was born," said Brown, who said he coached Simmons' father while living in Australia for 17 years. "Just having that knowledge of where he was raised and understanding the culture (is helpful)."
The draft will be held on June 23 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.