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May 16, 2017

What they’re saying: The Sixers have the most to gain at the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery

There is only so much that you can write about the NBA Draft Lottery. You can analyze all that you want, but it’s just the luck of the draw.

Over the past few weeks, the constant Joe Mixon talk Philly on sports talk radio has now changed over to speculation about ping-pong balls: Would you rather have 1 or 2 and 4? Thankfully, all of the uncertainty ends in a few hours.

For now, though, here is what some writers outside of Philly are saying about the draft lottery…

CBS Sports’ Matt Moore broke down “the five most uproarious potential outcomes,” which includes the Sixers taking the second pick from the Kings in a pick swap:

This is peak hilarity. The Kings in this situation do not get a first-round pick from the DeMarcus Cousins trade, because for some insane reason, they left it top-3 protected. They then secure a top-3 pick, which is great! But they have to send it to Philadelphia as a result of a salary dump trade they made two years ago trying to get into position to sign a marquee free agent, which of course they never did. But they do land the third spot! Except ... this is widely considered to be a top-two-player draft.

In “The 2017 Lottery Karma Power Rankings,” Bill Simmons ranked the Sixers fifth while comparing the Colangelos to Game of Thrones characters:

I would have ranked them higher if (a) their spineless owners hadn’t pushed out Sam Hinkie and replaced him with the NBA’s version of the Lannisters, and (b) their medical staff didn’t seem like it was borrowed from The Knick. Would you rather be operated on by a Sixers team doctor, Patrick Dempsey, or Dr. Dre?

(In 2014, Simmons ranked the Sixers 10th in the same column.)

In Los Angeles, the new Lakers brain trust (Magic Johnson, Rob Pelinka) is dealing with what is going to be an extremely stressful night. Sixers fans have a right to be nervous, but this night for the Lakers could be disastrous:

“Magic and I just have a real level of confidence and optimism,” Pelinka said. “Our trust is in hard work and kind of just the pursuit of excellence with everything we do. It’s not contingent on getting the pick or not getting the pick.”

He won’t be taking any good-luck charms. As he sees it, his and Johnson’s job since taking over this spring has been to reduce their dependence on the lottery. Once they know where they’ll pick, they can set to work on that much-talked-about plan.

At SB Nation, Tom Ziller ran though “The most hilarious possible NBA Draft Lottery results,” which also includes a Kings pick swap:

If the Kings win the No. 1 pick, Philadelphia will swap its own pick (which could be as low as No. 7) for that choice. If the Lakers fall to Nos. 4 or 5, the Sixers would get that one, as well.

So, the most ridiculous scenario is for the Sixers to win No. 1 via the Kings, No. 4 via the Lakers, and then give up No. 6 to the Kings. (The Sixers can’t both fall to No. 7 and get No. 4. If Philly’s own pick goes down to No. 7, they either wouldn’t have the L.A. pick or it’d be No. 5.)

For ESPN, Brian Windhorst laid out all of the implications that the draft lottery will have for every team:

The 76ers' grand slam is winning the lottery and pushing the Lakers out, coming away with the No. 1 and No. 4 picks, at which point the fans of former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie might hold an impromptu parade. The 76ers' disaster is the Lakers keeping the pick and then falling back to the worst-case scenario of the No. 6 pick. Here we go again with the high stakes.

And finally, last but not least, ESPN Insider’s Chad Ford believes the Sixers have the most to win at the draft lottery:

Assuming they take Markelle Fultz first (he currently sits atop their big board) and a player like Malik Monk, the Sixers could add two elite shooters and athletes to a team already boasting two other potential franchise players -- Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

This is the perfect draft for the Sixers to strike gold. Coach Brett Brown plans on putting the ball in Simmons' hands next year. What he needs are a couple of young, athletic guards who can spread the floor and find ways to score without being primary ball handlers. Fultz and Monk are the ideal backcourt to pair with Embiid and Simmons.

So, there you have it. We’re less than six hours away from getting this thing going.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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