Friday was an off day for the Sixers, but not for their draft lottery hopes. Another win by the Los Angeles Lakers over the Sacramento Kings was not only good for the potential pick swap, but also offset the Phoenix Suns’ 120-99 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Phoenix still holds a 1.5 game lead over the Lakers for the second best lottery odds, and Sacramento is tied for seventh.
Here’s what else happened yesterday:
Russell Westbrook seals triple-double average for season
With his sixth assist early in the third quarter against the Suns, Westbrook became just the second player in NBA history to average a triple-double for an entire season. Oscar Robertson was the first during the 1961-62 season when he averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists in 44.3 minutes per game. Westbrook is currently averaging 31.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists in just 34.8 minutes per game. The MVP debate is truly a toss-up at this point, but averaging a triple-double and not winning the award might be more outrageous than earning the average to begin with.
Shamus Clancy takes over the Liberty Ballers mailbag
Shamus took the time to answer your pressing Sixers questions, which included a Furkan Korkmaz update, the potential opening night roster for next season and the best draft outcomes.
Monty Williams discusses life after tragedy
Sports Illustrated’s Chris Ballard wrote a really powerful story on Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams, and his attempt to move on after the passing of his wife, Ingrid.
Bill Simmons names Joel Embiid “Unicorn of the Year”
With apologies to the Freak (don’t worry, I’m voting for him for second-team All-NBA), the Joker (a legit threat to recreate the ’77 Blazers) and the Zinger (who spent the season in Melo-Rose purgatory), I’m voting for Joel Embiid, a 7-foot-2 behemoth with 3-point range who averaged 20 and eight in 25 minutes a game, sent Sixers fans into a Process tizzy, never even cracked the 800-minute mark, then disappeared. Did we imagine it? Did Joel Embiid even exist? That’s a true unicorn — when you don’t even know if it happened.
Embiid was also given the “Best Social Media Persona” award, which seems like a given.
LaVar Ball attempts to take foot out of his mouth
In this week’s edition of “dumb things LaVar Ball said” he attempted to walk back his comments on Lonzo’s former teammates, TJ Leaf, Bryce Alford and Thomas Welsh. Ball was quoted on Thursday saying UCLA couldn’t win a national championship because the three white guys who play consistent minutes have slow “foot speed”. Can’t wait until LaVar has the opportunity to throw Lonzo’s NBA teammates under the bus!
Lonzo Ball really wants to play for the Lakers
Lonzo seemingly doesn’t have a ton of interest in leaving the Los Angeles area. During an appearance on SportsNation Ball was asked if he’d rather be the first overall pick or a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, to which Ball replied the latter. There’s a chance both can happen. The Lakers continue to shoot themselves in the foot, but if they do end up getting the first overall pick, hopefully they feel an obligation to select their native son, allowing Markelle Fultz to potentially fall into the Sixers hands.