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76ers finally reach moment of truth in NBA draft lottery

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The Philadelphia 76ers finished a miserable season some time ago. Yet all Sixers fans know the actual basketball their team played this year was just the preseason. The real season for the Sixers in 2013-14 was always going to be a one-night affair on May 20, and now the NBA draft lottery is finally ready for them.

This is the night that will either make the last 82 games worth it, or provide one last bitter disappointment. Nevertheless, even if the Sixers don't come out on top in the draft lottery with the No. 1 pick, having the No. 2 or No. 3 selection may not be too bad this year.

The NBA draft is supposed to be deeper than ever this time around, unlike last year's class, where the Sixers' own Michael Carter-Williams was the Rookie of the Year almost by default. In this case, the likes of Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid and more are up for grabs, with the Sixers having good odds to at least get one of the first three picks.

If Philadelphia gets the No. 1 slot, however, it will be in a position it hasn't been since 1996, when it took Allen Iverson and reaped the benefits for at least the next six years. Can Wiggins, Parker or Embiid turn the Sixers into an actual contender in that time, with help from Williams, Nerlens Noel and future top picks? Of course, placing high in the NBA draft lottery doesn't always guarantee success, as the Sixers' experience with former No. 2 pick Evan Turner proved.

The biggest obstacles in the way for Philadelphia are the Milwaukee Bucks -- who actually had the NBA's worst record and will get the most ping pong balls -- the Orlando Magic and Utah Jazz. The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers are not too far behind, as conspiracy theories will certainly be busy if one of them gets to No. 1 or No. 2.

A high draft pick is a sure fire way for a formerly top franchise to become relevant again. The Sixers have lived by this principle for an entire year, ever since their fire sale in the last NBA draft. Now after 82 games of basketball that only mattered for this purpose, Philadelphia will finally see some kind of payoff.

The draft lottery will be held at 8 p.m. est on ESPN.

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