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January 07, 2016

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

Back in November, we took an early look at where the Philadelphia 76ers’ potential four first-round picks were slotted to end up. Two months later, let’s take a look at where we stand if the season ended today.

Sixers pick

Philadelphia 76ers (4-33, projected 1st pick): Yup, still right on schedule. The Sixers are 4.5 games “ahead” of the Los Angeles Lakers in the race for the best lottery odds — By the way, getting the season split by losing in L.A. on New Year’s was kind of important in that regard — but what if Ish Smith carries them to a few more wins over the next week? Who writes the first “THEY ARE TOO GOOD” article?

Sacramento Kings (14-21, projected 10th pick): The Sixers really did play that road trip beautifully, because this is the team that you want to beat. By the way, that loss really disgusted the Kings fans:

(That sound you hear is every Sixers fan saying, “Yes, Vlade, please blow it up.”)

Despite said stinker, the Kings really aren’t a terrible team and it feels like they could go either way. They are packed in tightly with a bunch of teams, 2.5 games ahead of the league’s fourth-worst record (New Orleans) and also only 1.5 games out of the eighth seed in the Western Conference (Utah). Imagine if this shot didn’t go down!

Lakers pick (protected 1-3)

Los Angeles Lakers (8-28, projected 2nd pick): Kobe is starting to play a bit better (even though he missed the last three games), and the Lakers have won four out of their last ten. For Byron Scott’s club, that officially qualifies as on a roll.

If the Lakers kept the lottery’s second-best odds, the Sixers would have a 44.2 percent chance of snagging their pick this year and a 31.9 percent chance of hitting the jackpot and landing in the fourth spot.

Heat pick (projected 1-10)

Miami Heat (21-14, projected 24th pick): The Sixers took some criticism for forking over two second-round picks (both likely in the 30s) in exchange for Ish Smith. While that package wasn’t good value on the Sixers’ end for a player of Smith’s caliber on an expiring deal (especially for a guy they had in the fold just last year), at least you can rationalize it a little bit by looking at the state of these picks.

The Sixers are likely getting both the Miami and Oklahoma City picks this year and they both have a chance to be pretty late in the first round. That said, Miami is an older team only 2.5 games out of the ninth spot in the crazy Eastern Conference, and they have also played a home-heavy schedule (23 games in Miami, 12 games on the road). There is a possibility they can tail off a little bit in the next month or so.

Thunder pick (protected 1-15)

Oklahoma City Thunder (25-11, projected 27th pick): As it turns out, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Serge Ibaka are pretty good together when they’re all healthy. Awesome team.

Golden State Warriors (33-2, projected 30th pick): The awesomest team. If OKC knocks the Dubs off in the playoffs, maybe the Sixers can swap 30 for 29.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann