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Liberty Links: Lakers clinch third-best NBA draft lottery odds

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Give me that pick, LA!

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Lakers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Wednesday. Today’s the last day of the NBA regular season. Hopefully tonight’s game against the Knicks is the last meaningless game the Sixers play for, like, 15 years. On to the links!

Lakers beat the Pelicans on their way to the third-best lottery odds

With a win over New Orleans, the Lakers have solidified themselves in the third spot of the lottery standings. Here comes that pick!

The Lakers visit Oakland to take on the Warriors tonight. The result of the game is meaningless in terms of its effect on the lottery standings. There’s a 53.1 percent chance their pick now conveys to the Sixers (22.6 percent they land at four, 26.5 percent at five and 4.0 percent at six). While some Sixers fans may be pessimistic about the odds of getting this pick, I like to frame it a different: imagine how much people in Philly would be freaking out if there was a 53.1 percent chance the team loses its own pick.

Unfortunately for the Sixers, the Kings blew out the Suns last night, tying Sacramento for eighth in the lottery standings with the Mavericks with 32 wins.

Here’s the rooting guide for tonight’s contests with lottery odds in mind:

  • Knicks (30-51, sixth in the lottery standings) over the Sixers (28-53, tied for fourth)
  • Magic (28-53, tied for fourth) over the Pistons (37-44)
  • Mavericks (32-49, ninth) over the Grizzlies (43-38)
  • Timberwolves (31-50, seventh) over the Rockets (54-27)
  • Clippers (50-31) over the Kings (32-49, tied for eighth)

An ideal scenario where all over those outcomes happen would leave the Sixers solely fourth in the lottery standings, the Magic in the fifth spot and then the Timberwolves and the Kings tied for seventh.

SB Nation NBA Mock Draft

Ricky O’Donnell and our overlords at SB Nation NBA did a mock draft yesterday based on a lottery simulation that had the Lakers grabbing the first pick, the Celtics picking second and the Sixers selecting third. With Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball gone with the first and second picks, respectively, O’Donnell has the Sixers grabbing Kansas forward Josh Jackson. Here’s what he says about the selection:

Yes, the Sixers need shooters if Ben Simmons is going to be their primary creator. Yes, shooting is still the biggest hole in Jackson’s skill set even after a hot stretch to close the year boosted his three-point percentage to a respectable 37.8 percent. Jackson simply brings too much else to the table at a position of need for Philly to pass on him.

The Sixers defense improved from No. 25 to No. 15 this season, and adding Jackson would be another step towards becoming an elite defensive team. He has the athleticism to get out in transition and run with Simmons. His passing ability will help him play with two other stars, too. NBA teams will have to investigate a troubling episode where he allegedly attacked a teammate’s ex-girlfriend’s car.

Sports Illustrated NBA Award Picks

Four SI NBA writers gave their picks for the various awards around the league. Ben Golliver and ex-Michael Levin roommate Andrew Sharp selected Joel Embiid as the Rookie of the Year. Rob Mahoney picked Dario Saric. Rohan Nadkarni, in defiance of God, chose Malcolm Brogdon. A 75-percent hit rate is pretty good though.

Each gives a written explanation behind their choice. Here’s what Mahoney had to say about Saric:

Joel Embiid deserves joint custody of this award—one that would have been his if he could only stay healthy. Every voter has their arbitrary thresholds and 31 games played with 786 minutes just isn’t enough for me when solid candidates have logged more than double the minutes. Of them, I like Saric. It’s hard to work as a versatile, playmaking big on a team that lacks for order and spacing. Saric found his lane. Brogdon’s season undoubtedly meant more considering that he plays for a more competitive team, but Saric’s edge in productivity and successes in spite of an uphill grind endear me to his case.

Trial & Error episodes nine and 10 air on NBC

Trial & Error, the NBC sitcom which Liberty Ballers godfather Mike Levin writes for, aired the ninth and 10th episodes of its first season last night. You can stream all the episodes on NBC’s website. It’s an absurdist satire of Making a Murder and Serial. Check it out.