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Land The Picks, Sam: Are The Heat and Thunder Too Good?

The Lakers are becoming a little too close for comfort, while the Thunder and Heat continue to tack on wins.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Each Friday (or in this case Saturday), we'll be tracking the five teams who the Sixers are reliant on to keep the dream of #OneFourElevenSixteen alive.

Team: Los Angeles Lakers (3-16)

Protections: Selections 1-3 in 2016 and 2017, Unprotected in 2018

Pick Status: It's been a hectic week out in Los Angeles. Seeing as how the Lakers win total was usually higher than how many shots he made a night, Kobe Bryant announced his retirement before a 107-103 loss to the Indiana Pacers. Philadelphia was the first official stop on the retirement tour, and the Sixers would win 103-91 after the Lakers shot just 37.1% from the field. This gave the Sixers their much-needed first win of the season, and while that was dandy, Philadelphia is actually going to need the Lakers to win at some point. Bryant would make up for the loss on Wednesday, where Kobe's 31 points, including a late game-winning jump shot, willed the Lakers over the Washington Wizards. On Friday, they traveled to Atlanta and lost by 13.

As it currently stands, the Lakers have the second best lottery odds, and are just two games out from the fourth spot, currently owned by Boston (via Brooklyn). Los Angeles continues their road trip all this week, facing off against Detroit (11-9), Toronto (12-8), Minnesota (8-10), and San Antonio (16-4).

Chance of Pick Conveying: Would need some help from the lottery Gods.

Team: Miami Heat (11-6)

Protections: Selections 1-10 in 2016, Unprotected in 2017

Pick Status: Miami continues to roll, and find some much needed help from their role players. Gerald Green's 25 points lead Miami to a victory over the New York Knicks on November 27, they returned home to face the Boston Celtics on Monday. Dwyane Wade led all scorers with 30 points on 12-24 shooting, but it wasn't enough to hold off the Boston Celtics. The team rebounded well on Thursday, with a 97-95 statement victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on national television.

Miami is currently the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, and if the season were to end today, their pick would be 25th overall. After a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers (13-6) Saturday night, the Heat will play Washington (8-9), Charlotte (10-8), Indiana (12-6), and Memphis (11-9)

Chance of Pick Conveying: Very safe.

Team: Oklahoma City Thunder (11-8)

Protections: Selections 1-15 in 2016 and 2017

Pick Status: After winning five of their past six games, the Oklahoma City Thunder are now riding a two-game losing streak. Kevin Durant's 34 points lifted the Thunder over the surging Detroit Pistons on November 27, but 34 points from Russell Westbrook against the Atlanta Hawks on Monday wasn't enough to secure a victory. The Thunder then finished off their southeastern tour on Thursday with the aforementioned loss to Miami.

Oklahoma City is currently third in the Western Conference, and their record would earn them the 22nd overall pick. They play Sacramento (7-13), Memphis, Atlanta (13-9), and Utah (8-9).

Chance of Pick Conveying: Like Miami, very safe.

Team: Sacramento Kings (7-13)

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: Sacramento seems to have brought out the best in Rajon Rondo's game. He's currently averaging 12.5 points, 10.6 assists, and 6.9 rebounds per game. But that hasn't translated to wins lately, as Sacramento are losers of three of their last four games. Their most recent victory came Monday against the Dallas Mavericks, where 31 points from DeMarcus Cousins led to a 112-92 win.

Sacramento currently owns the seventh best lottery odds, but is also tied with both Milwaukee and Denver. Their upcoming schedule includes games against Houston (9-11), Oklahoma City, Utah minus Rudy Gobert, and New York (10-10).

Chance of Pick Conveying: Won't know until lottery night.

Team: Golden State Warriors (20-0)

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: Golden State is the best team in the league. They've set the record for best start to an NBA season, and if they can beat the Raptors on Saturday, they may not lose anytime soon. Odds are they're going to finish with the best record in the league.

Chance of Pick Conveying: Very unlikely.

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