I hate to keep beating the same drum, but when it’s the only instrument in the room what really can I say? The Lakers are back in action tonight, facing the 76ers in another standings game which could matter come lottery night. Philly may not be “tanking”, but they’re certainly starved for talent now that Joel Embiid has been shut down for the season (joining top pick Ben Simmons) and Nerlens Noel has been traded. The team still has Dario Saric (who’s good!) and Jahlil Okafor (who’s…I don’t know what he is at this point), but the rest of this roster is holdovers from previously terrible teams and some veterans who were brought in to soak up minutes and mentor the young guys.
This makes Philly a bad team and they have incentive — maybe even more than the Lakers — to continue to be that way through the end of the season to maximize their lottery chances. Philly will get the Lakers’ pick should it fall outside the top 3 and they also have the right to swap picks with the Kings should that pick end up higher than their own. So, Philly realistically could end up with two top 5 picks in what is thought to be a loaded draft and all they have to do is continue to lose to make that happen.