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February 10, 2016

2016 NBA Draft: Sixers’ first-round pick tracker, part four

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At 8-44, the Philadelphia 76ers are currently three games “behind in the win column” of the Los Angeles Lakers in the race for last. The giveaway to the Clippers on Monday night was pretty painful to watch, but the result will help in the pursuit for the best lottery odds.

And what the heck is going on in Sacramento? Let’s jump right into it.

•    Part one
•    Part two
•    Part three

Sixers pick

Philadelphia 76ers (8-44, projected 1st pick): Yup, still right on schedule after offering rather uncompetitive efforts against Atlanta and Washington last week before securing a win over Brooklyn. There is an argument to be made that the biggest L that the Sixers took this week was to Fox Mulder, though.

Sacramento Kings (21-31, projected 9th pick): Where to begin? The Kings have won two of their last ten games, they aren’t guarding anyone (the Celtics hung 46 on them in the first quarter on Sunday, for instance), and they now have the same number of wins as New Orleans and Milwaukee. The pick swap potential is growing by the hour.

To make matters worse, Vivek Ranadive was thisclose to firing George Karl, who, if you'll recall, was brought on board just last February:

From Yahoo’s Marc Spears:

Divac called Karl while the coach was at lunch in Philadelphia on Tuesday. Divac told Karl in a roughly five-minute conversation that they would work together and that better defense was needed, a source told Yahoo Sports. Karl took the lunch-time call privately with the expectation that he would be fired, a source told Yahoo.

I have no idea if Sacramento is going to right the ship (it’s possible), but this is exactly why using short-term cap space to bet against them was a worthwhile gamble by Sam Hinkie. They aren’t a very stable organization, to put it mildly. Oh yeah, the Kings are also in town tonight. We will be there.

Lakers pick (protected 1-3)

Los Angeles Lakers (11-43, projected 2nd pick): Still in the second slot, this pick has about a 44 percent chance of conveying this year as things stand. How about the Lakers playing competitive ball all of a sudden? They followed up wins over Minnesota and New Orleans with competitive losses in San Antonio and Indiana. Kobe Bryant turned back the clock and hit seven threes against the Wolves and the coach he once scored 81 points against:

Heat pick (protected 1-10)

Miami Heat (29-24, projected 21st pick): The Heat still have a negative point differential and are only 2.5 games ahead of the lottery in the tightly packed together East, but they have played better than expected against a road-heavy schedule as of late. Miami faded big time down the stretch last season, but they also didn’t have the criminally underrated Chris Bosh on the floor. He makes a big difference.

Thunder pick (protected 1-15)

Oklahoma City Thunder (39-14, projected 28th pick): With all due respect to LeBron and the Spurs, Oklahoma City looks like they have the best chance to give the Dubs a competitive playoff series with their length and athleticism.

Golden State Warriors (47-4, projected 30th pick): It’s going to be a daunting task, though. Can you believe that the Sixers almost beat these guys?

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann