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March 15, 2017

What they’re saying: The basketball gods have to think about rewarding the Sixers

On Tuesday, the former Grantland duo of Zach Lowe and Bill Simmons reunited and talked NBA just like old times on Simmons’ podcast. And at the tail end of said podcast, the Sixers were brought up on a couple of occasions.

First, Lowe made his opinion known that with only 31 games played, Joel Embiid shouldn’t win rookie of the year (and he would pick Dario Saric). And then right before wrapping up, they discussed the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery for a few minutes, which is pretty much my favorite subject ever:

Simmons: The New Orleans, Sacramento, and Philly part and all of the chicanery that can happen with those picks… If Sacramento gets in the Top-3 and Philly gets 7, Philly could just swap picks with them which I don’t think people fully realize. Sacramento could win the lottery and have to flip the pick to Philly because of that ridiculous Stauskas trade.

Lowe: I can’t wait.

Simmons: And then you have the Lakers, who are going to have the second-worst record. So right around pick 5, when the envelopes are being unfolded, if that Lakers envelope is 5 or 4, that’s gone. That goes to Philly too.

Lowe: The basketball gods have a big day in May whenever the lottery is. We’re going to see what the basketball gods think about some stuff. I think the basketball gods have to consider punishing Sacramento for making one of the all-time worst NBA trades and not understanding the rules.

Simmons went on to call it “the best lottery since the Durant-Oden one,” and he is probably right when you take into account all of the moving parts. It’s kind of absurd that championships could swing on the bounce of a ping-pong ball, but it’s the system we have.

We’re only two months away, but the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery can’t get here fast enough.

In case you missed it at PhillyVoice

1.    Draft Cheat Sheet: Here’s a guide for Sixers fans who want to scout the 2017 NCAA Tournament.

2.    An old friend: Sam Hinkie was present to watch Dario Saric and the Sixers play the Golden State Warriors tough.

3.    Johanna: Joel Embiid can’t seem to give Rihanna up, which is understandable.

Other Sixers news, notes and analysis from around the web:

Three Reasons Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot has a Bright NBA Future: Mike O’Connor, The Sixer Sense

TLC has been playing pretty solid minutes lately, and he didn’t look out of place at all against the Warriors on Tuesday night. Similar to Saric, I have been impressed with what we have seen from the No. 24 overall pick as a rookie. He has a jumper that I believe in and the ability to slither into tight spaces and finish.

O’Connor does a good job of breaking these things down with video:

For starters, he doesn’t need much space to finish. He maintains his fluidity from anywhere. His length allows him to approach and finish from peculiar angles before the defense recognizes he’s a threat. He also has a tremendous sense of how to use his body. He shields off defenders with his hips and shoulders, daring shot blockers to foul him with their body.

Here, Chris Mannix and former Nets front office member Bobby Marks discuss Hinkie’s future in the NBA.

Kia Rookie Ladder: Scott Howard-Cooper,

The Sixers are running 1-2 in’s Rookie of the Year race, and Howard-Cooper believes Saric can still catch Embiid:

If Embiid has produced for about half the season – 31 games – the same could be said for Saric in a different way. Even with the great run since around the All-Star break, he’s still at 12.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and shooting 41.4 percent. He didn’t shoot better than 40 percent two months in a row until February-March. Saric can still get to No. 1, but only by continuing to play well. The good news is, he has enough time left to dislodge teammate Embiid.

Where All 30 NBA Coaches Stand: Alex Wong, Sports on Earth

Brett Brown has seen his stock go up this season, and Wong has rightfully placed the Sixers coach in the category of “foundation builders”:

Despite all the losses Brown absorbed for his personal resume during Sam Hinkie's rebuild, he's come out of it with his job intact. This is a Sixers team that could compete soon, provided Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are healthy next season.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann