The Sixersare a tough nut to crack.
With Ben Simmons missing the entire season, Nerlens Noel playing for the Mavericks and Joel Embiidfacing potential knee surgery, there isn’t much to be excited about on the floor.
But then you see the team slaughter Dallas 116-74 (like they did Friday) and two days later dismantle Eastern Conference powerhouse Boston (like they did Sunday) to reach 24 wins in what many thought would be a fourth tank season. There is hope.
Dario Saric has gone from an afterthought — second banana to Embiid — to NBA Rookie of the Year front-runner.
And Brett Brown has the team fighting and playing hard (as seen in Philly’s heart-breaking near miss against the Warriors).
Thanks to Sam Hinkie, there is even more to be excited about.
Thanks to sly moves and tank-related trades, the Sixerscould have as many as six draft picks in 2017. They have a 44 percent chance of getting the Lakers’ pick if it slots at No. 4 or 5, plus a 28 percent chance of getting a top three pick themselves. They also have a 19 percent chance added from the Kings, with whom they hold the right to swap with if they want to (the 19 percent is the Kings shot at a top three choice).
Philly also holds four second round picks — which, with just 13 roster spots, will surely be moved or used in overseas gambles.
The lottery will be huge for the Sixers’ future — equally as riveting as the unexpected success the Sixers are having on the hardwood.