Analyzing The Tank

The Philadelphia 76ers currently sit at 12-25, last in the Atlantic. If the season ended today, they would receive the 4th best odds to win the lottery. Currently Orlando(10-27), Utah(12-26), and Milwaukee(7-29) are behind(ahead?) the Sixers. Teams like the Kings(12-22) and Celtics(13-25) are right on their tails. The Knicks, Nets, Lakers, and Cavaliers seem like they are bound to get hot at some point, and the Knicks and Nets already have. So, let's take a look at the teams who are the biggest threat to the Sixers not getting Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker.

Milwaukee: The Bucks are awful. Just awful. Brandon Knight leads the team in points and assists while averaging 15 and 4 a night. With just 7 wins they have the worst record in the league. the worst part is that with all the tankers in the league this year, the Bucks were TRYING to win. Spencer Hawes helped them out with the fadeaway 3 that killed the Sixers, who would love to have that loss now. Looking at the Bucks schedule, it appears that they have a stretch of somewhat winnable games coming up in a couple weeks. The Sixers really need to start losing and have the Bucks get hot to catch them.

Orlando: Unlike Milwaukee, Orlando has the ability to get hot. They have a 20 PPG scorer(Arron Afflalo), a ROY candidate(Victor Oladipo), a big man averaging a double double(Nikola Vucevic), and a veteran presence(Jameer Nelson). The Magic are likely to trade one of either Nelson or Afflalo, but even without them the Magic aren't the worst team in the league. The Magic's next couple games: at Dallas, Chicago, Charlotte, Boston, at Brooklyn, Atlanta, Lakers, at New Orleans, at Detroit, at Toronto, Milwaukee, at Boston. Of those 12, the Magic could win half. And the Sixers just two games ahead of them, they should pass the Sixers soon.

Utah: The Jazz are getting hot. They are just .5 GB of the Sixers and should pass them soon. Gordon Hayward is playing great. Trey Burke is having an outstanding season since returning from a broken hand. Derrick Favors has played well while stepping in for Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap. The Jazz should, like the Magic, move ahead of the Sixers soon.

Boston: The Celtics are starting to become dangerous. At one point this season, they seemed like a lock for the playoffs, with Brooklyn and New York playing awful and Toronto trading Rudy Gay, but not anymore. The Celtics last win was on December 28, 2013. They have not won this year yet. No one should be surprised, as this was the expectation for this team. However, the Celtics will receive a major boost when Rajon Rondo returns from his torn ACL. For right now, let's label the Celtics as a team that may drop behind the 76ers at some point, but won't remain there unless they have a fire sale at the trade deadline, trading Rondo and/or Jeff Green.

Sacramento: The Kings are an odd case. Looking at their roster, they should be contending for a playoff spot. DeMarcus Cousins could be the best center in the NBA, Rudy Gay has been playing well with the Kings, Isaiah Thomas has been outstanding, and Derrick Williams has looked much better than he did on the T-Wolves. Ben McLemore has proven to be a very inconsistent player, but that should improve with time. The Kings made two major trades before the new year, something very rare for an NBA team. Those trades have paid off in terms of stats, but not in wins. Sacramento for now is not a major threat, as they should and will get hot at some point, but can't be ruled out as a potential team to go into tank mode. It's unlikely they finish behind Philly.

We have now covered the biggest threats to the Sixers quest for the first pick, here are some teams to watch out for:

Pelicans: Could go into tank mode with Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson out. Also looking to trade Eric Gordon. Sixers get their pick if they don't get top-5 pick.

Lakers: Possible, but with Kobe and Nash returning, should put some wins together.

Memphis: If they trade Zach Randolph, its possible they could. Also could trade guys like Tony Allen, even have heard Marc Gasol. But with Conley and others, aren't even on the radar for now.

So, now after that let's put together the predictions for the final standings:

6. Sacramento Kings 28-54

5. Boston Celtics 25-57

4. Utah Jazz 23-59

3. Orlando Magic 22-60

2. Philadelphia 76ers 21-61

1. Milwaukee Bucks 17-65

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