The Phoenix Suns beating the Houston Rockets Thursday night had major NBA draft ramifications … for the LA Lakers. The Phoenix win locks the Lakers into the 2nd-worst record in the NBA.
Why is that important?
Because the Lakers only keep their 2016 1st round pick if it is a Top 3 selection. If they come up 4th or lower when the ping pong balls are popped on May 17th, the pick goes to the 76ers. (Yes, Philadelphia has a chance at possibly getting the 1st and 4th picks in the draft, something we’ve discussed.)
The 76ers will have the worst record: 10-68. The Lakers will finish with the 2nd worst record: 16-62. The Suns (21-58) and Nets (21-57) are 3rd and 4th, but it should be noted Brooklyn’s pick is owned by the Celtics due to an old trade.
According to Tankathon, The Lakers have a 55.8% chance of staying in the Top 3. At the risk of sounding dramatic, the fortunes of the franchise may tilt on May 17th. Imagine the possibility of landing Brandon Ingram or Ben Simmons … or not having a 1st round pick. They’d walk into the draft (and free agency) with some extra bounce in their step with one of those two potential stars in the mix.
As for the 76ers, how insane is it that they could have, next year, in a perfect world: Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric … plus two Top 5 picks in Kris Dunn and Brandon Ingram. (Or Jamal Murray and Jaylen Brown. I could go on and on.) I mean, these are the 76ers, so Saric probably wants to stay overseas, one of the bigs gets hurt again, and they don’t get the Lakers pick.
But Sam Hinkie might pull his hair out watching this team come together like Voltron in the coming years.