Tomorrow is the Sixers’ final game of the regular season (along with the rest of the NBA), it looks like they’ll finish no worse than a tie for 4th, though a 5th place finish is still possible. Let this serve as your primer for determining what to root for on Wednesday night.
Root for the Sixers to Lose to NYK - I can’t imagine the Sixers will do anything of consequence to try and win tomorrow. Right now they are tied for 4th with Orlando, a win would cost the Sixers 15 combinations. Think you’ll see some, “I’m pretty sure Stauskas needs more PG minutes!” from Brett Brown.
Root for Orlando to beat Detroit - Orlando has already mailed in their season, they lost by 47 points to a Bulls team that gets along with each other about as well as Skeeza and health insurance. The Magic didn’t even have a pre-game shootaround or practice yesterday, this team is ready to go into the lottery tied for 4th. Detroit has nothing to play for, though a loss and Charlotte win could see them tie Charlotte for 11th, but that seems unlikely given what Charlotte is doing these days, and it doesn’t impact the number of combinations they get.
It should be noted that if Orlando and Philly end tied for 4th, they will split the odds for 4th/5th, and the winner of a coin toss will get 1 extra combination. The winner of the coin toss gets 104 combinations, the loser 103. If Philly ended in 4th outright, they’d end up with 119 combinations. If Philly ended in 5th outright, they’d end up with 88 combinations.
Phoenix Suns vs. Sacramento Kings. What’s your personal preference? Might as well add the Lakers in here too - The tank game of the night belongs to Phoenix and Sacramento. This game will impact the Lakers and Kings odds for the draft. The real question is down to personal preference, what do you prefer? Would you prefer the Kings swap to have a better chance to convey or the Lakers pick to have a better chance of conveying?
Lakers - An improbable 4-game win streak has the Lakers sitting 3rd, neither Orlando or Philly could catch them. Phoenix currently sits 2nd in the lottery, a win and Lakers loss would mean the teams split odds of the 2nd/3rd selections (like Orlando/Philly likely will). A Phoenix win could give the Lakers a chance to add 22 combinations to their lottery chances (should they win the coin toss) if the Lakers lose.
There are many other factors at stake with this Lakers pick. I’m going to break this down into “A: what happens if LA ends outside the top 3,” and “B: what happens if LA ends inside the top 3.”
Option A: If the pick ends outside the top 3 at the lottery, then the Sixers will get the Lakers pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and forfeit their rights to the 2018 Lakers 1st. However, this also has other implications for the Lakers. If the Lakers pick conveys to Philly this year, then the Lakers owe an unprotected 2019 1st round pick to Orlando from the Dwight Howard trade. This is a disastrous scenario for LA, no 1st round pick for 2 of the next 3 years when the team is still rebuilding.
Option B: If the pick ends inside the top 3 at the lottery, then the Sixers will get the Lakers’ unprotected 2018 pick. The 2019 1st to Orlando would turn into 2017 and 2018 2nd round picks.
So, you can see why a Suns win could potentially be massive for the Lakers. This 4 game win streak could potentially damage the franchise for years if they don’t end in the top 3 and Phoenix does.
Kings - The Sixers have the Kings’ unprotected 2019 1st already, what will be determined are the swap rights they have for the Kings’ 2017 pick. The Sixers cannot get the Kings pick if it ends outside the top 10 in the lottery. Currently, the Kings sit 7th, tied with Minnesota. A Kings win could propel them to 8th in the case of a Minnesota loss. A Sacramento loss guarantees at least 35 combinations, 7 more than if they ended 8th outright. Here are the combination allotments for 7th-8th and in the case of a tie.
7th place outright - 43 ping pong balls
8th place outright - 28 ping pong balls
If Minnesota and Sacramento tie - 36 to winner of coin toss, 35 to loser of coin toss
But, what’s the personal preference? - This all goes to your personal feelings on risk. Is it okay to let the Lakers sit as a sleeping giant in the West for another season? Could they sign someone? Despite their current cap situation, they could find someone, it’s the Lakers. But, and this is a big but, the Lakers pick cannot convey into the 1st overall pick or a top 3 pick in the draft. The Kings pick CAN, and that’s why this game is down to personal preference.
If you are a risk mitigator, then root for Phoenix to lose because a Phoenix loss takes away 21/22 combinations from the Lakers, thus making it more likely for the pick to convey. Also root for the Lakers to win since that’d lock them into number 3.
If you are a risk taker, then root for Sacramento to lose because the Kings pick can become the number 1 pick, get the best odds for that pick, baby. I don’t think a risk taker would care as much about the result of the Lakers game, roll the dice.
Root for Minnesota to beat Oklahoma City - This one is related to the Kings pick, a Minnesota loss would add 8 combinations to the Kings that they otherwise won’t have. OKC is locked into the 6-seed out West, they could rest guys here for the playoffs starting this weekend. A Minnesota win is not improbable, especially given how tough they’ve played the Thunder typically over the last few years.