Every Friday we keep our eyes on the teams the Sixers are keeping their eyes on in their quest to one day hold all 60 picks of the NBA Draft. More to come perhaps, but for now it's all about #OneFourElevenSixteen and the annual dose of sundry second round picks.
Team: Los Angeles Lakers (4-22)*
*Typed last night before the Lakers played the Rockets, but come on, you can't expect the Lakers to actually win that game, and as I type this and check the score it's 29-14 Rockets. Sounds right.
Protections: Selections 1-3 in 2016 and 2017, Unprotected in 2018
Pick Status: The Lakers spent the past week continuing their losing ways until they came across the Bucks, the wonderful, inept Bucks. Kobe Bryant went 7-15 for 22 points, giving him the kind of performance that excites executives at every channel covering the NBA and leads to way too much airtime being spent on Kobe's self-aggrandizement.
Meanwhile Byron Scott continues to Byron Scott as only Byron Scott can. D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle continue to play reduced minutes off the bench for whatever reason that makes sense to Byron Scott and only Byron Scott. The Lakers are a bad team, so bad they are the only team in 2015-16 to lose to the Sixers. Even if the Lakers end the season with the worst record this season and given the way things are going they will be the Sixers' biggest, uh, competition, down the stretch for the #1 overall pick. Assuming the Sixers win some games down the stretch and catch the Lakers who will surely be losing games as Kobe chucks and chucks and chucks and the Lakers end the season with the worst overall record, the Lakers would still have a 35.7% chance at falling out of the top 3 and conveying their pick to the Sixers.
This coming week, the Lakers play the Thunder twice, Nuggets, and Clippers, in case you want to watch more Lakers losses.
Chance of Pick Conveying: We're going to be holding our breaths watching ping-pong balls.
Team: Miami Heat (15-9)
Protections: Selections 1-10 in 2016, Unprotected in 2017
Pick Status: Miami won three of their four games this week, putting them in a better position than they were in last week in terms of standings and in terms of statistical likelihood of pick conveyance to the Sixers. The Heat have Chris Both healthy, they have Dwyane Wade turning in 13-17 for 28 point throwback performances, they have Goran Dragic, and Justise (Winslow) for all. Up next for the Heat, they play the Raptors, Trail Blazers, Pistons, and Pelicans all at home.
Chance of Pick Conveying: Signs point to yes, but we've seen this story before and it did not have a happy ending last year.
Team: Oklahoma City Thunder (17-8)
Protections: Selections 1-15 in 2016 and 2017
Pick Status: Despite losing to the Cavs on Thursday night, the Thunder remain in good position to make the playoffs being the 3rd place team in the Western Conference and having Kevin Durant returning to 100% health. The Thunder would have to either not qualify for the playoffs or qualify for the playoffs as an #8 seed with a worse record than any Eastern Conference #8 seed, and both of those feel all a bit unlikely unless the injury bug bites them in the ass yet again. The Thunder play the Lakers twice this week, so they should not have to sweat about a loss to the Cavs being a sign of things to come.
Chance of Pick Conveying: Signs point to yes.
Team: Sacramento Kings (10-15)
Protections: Philadelphia has the right to swap their first-round pick with Sacramento's first round pick, provided that it's in the Top 10.
Pick Status: The Kings only played one game this week, a 107-97 win over the Rockets, so not much has really changed for them from last week. The Kings remain one game back of the 8 seed, but four teams sit between them and said 8 seed. They could go any number of ways, from lottery team to surprise playoff team that gets bludgeoned into quivering submission by the Warriors. The Kings doing bad gives the Sixers better chances of owning the top overall pick should the Kings hit lottery jackpot, but Boogie Cousins is one of the top players in the league so they may not enter lottery night with the best of odds should they not be able to qualify for the playoffs. The Kings are teetering between euphoria and devastation, and so are the Sixers odds of a pick swap. Up next for the Kings games is an East Coast road trip to Minnesota, Toronto, and Washington which should provide an interesting set of games for a team like the Kings.
Pick Status: Okay?
Team: Golden State Warriors (25-1)
Protections: Philadelphia has the right to swap the less favorable of Miami's 2016 first-round pick (protected 1-10), or Oklahoma City's 2016 first-round pick (protected 1-15), for Golden State's 2016 first round pick.
Pick Status: The Golden State Thunder are the best team in the NBA this season and one of the best teams we have ever seen. Despite losing their first game this of the season this week, the Warriors are experiencing the season of a lifetime and only major injuries are likely to stop them at this point. It's only December, yet the Warriors are hands down the most likely team to win the NBA Finals without any question. Dominance to the point it does not matter who they're playing next week. Or any week until the NBA Finals.
Chance of Pick Conveying: Not great, Bob.