By Harry Allison
Will the Lakers keep their first-round pick in the 2017 draft or give it up to the Sixers?
And with the Lakers and Sacramento Kings potentially boosting Philly’s odds of multiple top-10 picks, what’s the best-case scenario for the Sixers and the chances it happens?
You might remember that Philly got a protected Lakers pick in the three-team trade that sent Michael Carter-Williams to the Milwaukee Bucks and Brandon Knight to the Phoenix Suns in 2015. If the pick lands outside the top three in the 2017 draft, then the Sixers get it. If not, the Sixers get L.A.’s unprotected first-round pick in 2018.
Philly has swap rights with Sacramento within the top 10. So, for example, if Sacramento lands the No. 1 pick and Philly gets No. 2, then the Sixers would flip selections with the Kings. This gives the Sixers’ odds a nice little boost to land at No. 1 or in the top three.
While the overall chances of Philly receiving L.A.’s pick have dipped, the potential value of the pick has risen. The Lakers’ expected draft position per BPI is 4.8, meaning the most likely scenario right now is that the Sixers get the No. 4 or No. 5 pick from L.A. (literally the best-case scenario for fans of “The Process” who want the Sixers to have as many lottery picks as possible in the 2017 draft).
The Lakers would have to continue their slide to become more likely than not to keep their pick. The Suns, Nets and Sixers are all projected to finish with worse records than the Lakers, with the Sixers and Nets (but really the Celtics, via more pick-swap fun) both having better than a 50 percent chance to land in the top three and Phoenix having a 40.6 percent chance.
The Sixers don’t quite have a repeat of their dream 2015 lottery scenario when there was a minuscule chance Philly ended up with the No. 1, No. 6 and No. 11 picks, but things are still looking good for 2017 so far.