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Land The Picks, Sam: Kings No Longer In Lottery

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DeMarcus Cousins put on his best Boogie shoes, and the Heat continue to sputter.

"We won four straight?!"
"We won four straight?!"
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Team: Los Angeles Lakers (9-36)

Protections: 1-3 in 2016 and 2017, unprotected in 2018

Pick Status: The Lakers turned in a clean sweep (of losses) since last week's check in, falling to Utah, Houston, Sacramento and the Spurs in a span of six days. If you're a gambling man, staying firmly entrenched near the bottom is great, but the worriers among us can't be too excited with the Lakers current No. 2 lottery position. Easier times are ahead, tonight's date with Portland specifically, but forward progress is not imminent.

Chance of Pick Conveying: Just cross your fingers when the ping pong balls drop. (55.8 percent chance of staying top three, 44.2 percent chance to go to Philly)

Team: Miami Heat (23-21)

Protections: 1-10 in 2016, unprotected in 2017

Pick Status: Miami shares at least one thing in common with the Lakers: 0-4 on the week! Miami benefitted from one of the league's friendliest schedules to open the year, and it would appear they are far more mediocre than their start suggested. As we speak, the Heat sit just a game and a half up on their competition for the final playoff slot in the Eastern Conference, putting the Sixers within reach of another lottery pick. The Heat play their next three games away from home, and we'll see if the losses continue to pile up.

Chance of Pick Conveying: High, with the reward looking more tantalizing each day.

Team: Sacramento Kings (19-23)

Protections: Philadelphia has the right to swap their first-round pick with Sacramento's first round pick, as long as it's in the top 10.

Pick Status: An unlikely candidate to run the table in any given week, the Kings emerged from a reasonably tough stretch with a perfect mark, notching road wins against Utah and both LA teams, picking up a final win against the Hawks at home on Thursday. DeMarcus Cousins had a monster week, turning in two 35+ point, 15+ rebound games for the Nor Cal monarchs. Dates with Indiana, Charlotte, Portland and New Orleans don't seem to pose a threat to a suddenly streaking bunch.

Chance of Pick Conveying: The lottery odds appear to be slipping away.

Team: Oklahoma City Thunder (33-12)

Protections: 1-15 in 2016 and 2017

Pick Status: Basketball fans are happy to see Kevin Durant back in full bloom, but Sixers fans have to hope he hits a slump at some point. Behind the third-leading scorer in basketball, the Thunder have ripped off seven straight wins and nine in their last 10. Their brief road trip will tour through the boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan before a stop in Minnesota next week -- don't expect OKC's tear to come to an end.

Chance of Pick Conveying: Lock, stock and two smoking barrels.

Team: Golden State Warriors (40-4)

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: Absurd as the Warriors have been, the Spurs sit just two games back of the defending champions. The West's top two teams are a combined 44-0 on their home floors, and appear to be the two best teams in the league by a fairly considerable margin. This pick is getting nowhere near the Sixers, so take some time to appreciate their brilliance instead.

Chance of Pick Conveying: lol