I already feel the burn from the hot takes to come: It was ideal, but never likely. The Sixers could have walked away with four top-20 picks in this year’s draft. Now it looks like they’ll just get the one (their own).
With Oklahoma City’s loss last night, the Thunder are officially locked into the top-18 picks, and since their pick is top-18 protected this year, the Sixers won’t get it. The pick will come this way next year if the Thunder are outside the top-15 (likely) with the same protections in 2017. If none of those criteria are met, it becomes a Sixers second rounder in both 2018 and 2019, which is not nearly as sexy.
The Sixers aren’t completely out of play for the Heat’s pick, but it’s unlikely they’ll acquire that one without some real lottery luck. The pick is currently top-10 protected and if the season ended today, the Heat would be in that 10th spot. They can still win out (and have the Jazz or Pacers lose out and go to a coin flip to see who is #11 and who is #10). It’s top-10 protected again next year, and then wholly unprotected in 2017. There is still a chance the Sixers do land this pick this year, but that would require two teams with picks lower than the Heat’s to jump them in the lottery, which is unlikely.
And that Lakers pick. Oh, the Lakers pick. How badly we want thee. The Lakers are pretty much locked in to the 4th worst record in the NBA (unless the Sixers win out and the Lakers lose out), giving them a 17.2% chance of getting completely boned in the lottery and handing us their pick at #6. If that unlikely scenario doesn’t happen, the pick, which is protected top-3 in 2016 and 2017, and unprotected in 2018, stays with the Lakers this year.
So what now? The next thought is that these conditional picks just became great trade chips. That’s true, especially for that Lakers pick. While we’ll probably end up getting that Thunder pick at #20-24 and the Heat pick somewhere in the mid-teens next year, the Lakers could be a playoff team in 2016. Sure, with Kobe this season they were hot garbage, but Julius Randle will presumably be healthy and they’ll likely have a top-5 pick this year to add to the mix. Their conditional pick has TRADE BAIT stamped all over it. But Sam Hinkie’s probably running super secret simulations on this as we speak.