October 13, 2016
Let’s begin with the bad news: This year, the draft-pick tracker has been cut in half. The picks that the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder owed to the Sixers became Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Furkan Korkmaz, respectively.
On the bright side, the two selections with greater importance (the Lakers pick and the Sixers’ own pick) have come back for another year of tracking along with one potential pick swap with the Sacramento Kings. Let’s take a look at where things stack up the preseason:
(By the way, just so people are aware, the bad logos have always been on purpose.)
We wrote about the Sixers’ over/under a few weeks ago, and with the way Las Vegas sized things up before Ben Simmons’ injury, Philly has some competition for the league’s cellar in the form of Brooklyn, Phoenix, and the Lakers. While I think Brett Brown’s team figures to end up somewhere in the low-20s, that situation would mean they won’t run away with the league’s worst record. The Harry Giles/Markelle Fultz/Josh Jackson/etc. derby figures to be competitive!
Kings owner Vivek Ranadive gave a fascinating interview with USA Today in which he kinda, sorta deflected everything that has happened under his watch the past three years. Sam Amick, the interviewer, even felt the need to correct some things on his Twitter:
Kings addendum that needs to be noted: Vivek's characterization of those early days in Sac - the "ghost town" narrative - is just not fair.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) October 11, 2016
Geoff Petrie knew he was done, yet made sure front office helped w/ transition via scouting/sharing intel (w/ Wayne Cooper at his side)— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) October 11, 2016
And Delaware County native/former Kings head of basketball operations Geoff Petrie gave an interview to Deadspin where he echoed Amick’s sentiments. Rudy Gay also isn’t one bit happy about the basketball situation in Sacramento.
The Kings are welcoming in a new coach in Dave Joerger, and DeMarcus Cousins is an incredible talent that has never been able to put it all together within a team context for his entire career. At 32.5 wins, the Kings actually have the fifth lowest over/under in the NBA, an outcome the Sixers would sign up for right now if they had the chance. Sacramento has the talent to be a good bit better than that, but then again, last year’s 33-win campaign was their highest finish since 2007-08.
As always, the Kings shouldn’t be boring in 2016-17.
The Lakers figure to be pretty bad, which could either be a blessing or curse for the Sixers.
After two seasons of the ping-pong balls going their way, Los Angeles has one more year of their first rounder being Top-3 protected before they would finally have to fork over an unprotected pick to Philly in 2018. Their major free-agent signings (Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov) were very questionable, but they should help stabilize this year’s rotation as long as they can stay healthy.
On the bright side for Los Angeles, Luke Walton is a promising coach and D’Angelo Russell has the chance to blow up offensively this season. Brandon Ingram has had a subpar preseason thus far, and with his thin frame and young age, he looks like a player who Lakers fans need to be patient with.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann