2017 NBA Draft Kings Rudy Gay Injury Insures Sixers Success

The Philadelphia 76ers success has placed a question mark over the 2017 NBA Draft. But misfortune to Sacramento Kings Rudy Gay may yield an answer

In 2015, the Philadelphia 76ers executed a trade with the Sacramento Kings which yielded, among other things, the rights to swap first round draft picks in both the 2016 and 2017 NBA Drafts.  Since the 76ers landed the top pick of the 2016 NBA Draft, there was never a question of enacting the rights to swap picks.

In the span of a year, things change.

“(Kings must)do nothing, absolutely nothing, to jeopardize that top-10 protected first-round pick.” -Aileen Voisin

Right now, the Philadelphia 76ers are 14-26,
are 7-3 in their last ten games, and appear
to be getting better with each game.  In fact,
the success is becoming so concrete, that the 76ers are beginning to be mentioned in
whispers about the possibility of reaching the NBA playoffs this season.

While any talk of post season play is only a remote possibility at this point, the chances increase with each win by the 76ers.  And right now, the team is winning in bunches, like they never have before.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Sacramento Kings

The Bad With The Good

Conversely, the Sacramento Kings are 16-25, are 2-8 in their last ten games, and just learned that small forward Rudy Gay, second leading scorer on the team, has ruptured his Achilles tendon and will lost for the rest of the season.

And so, as the season flips from the first half to the second half, the Sacramento Kings are dealt a very serious blow to their chances of earning a playoff spot.  And right now, the Kings are entering the meat of their schedule, a grueling eight game road excursion. :

  • JANUARY      OPPONENT            TIME (ET)
  • Fri, Jan 20     @Memphis             8:00 PM
  • Sat, Jan 21    @Chicago               9:00 PM
  • Mon, Jan 23  @Detroit                7:30 PM
  • Wed, Jan 25  @Cleveland           7:00 PM
  • Fri, Jan 27      @Indiana               7:00 PM
  • Sat, Jan 28    @Charlotte            7:00 PM
  • Mon, Jan 30  @Philadelphia       6:00 PM
  • Tue, Jan 31    @Houston              8:00 PM

Before the injury to Rudy Gay, the Kings would have been favored to win as many as half of the games. Now? The Kings will struggle to find any wins.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Sacramento Kings

Kings Now Soul Searching

Right now, the Sacramento Kings are soul searching, looking for positives in the sea of gloom. Aileen Voisin of the Sacramento Bee believes that this now forces the team to consider drastic changes.

The path forward is pretty obvious. Develop the young players. Trade veterans for assets and to clear cap space. Prepare for the draft. Commit that four-letter word (tank) to memory, and do nothing, absolutely nothing, to jeopardize that top-10 protected first-round pick. -Aileen Voisin

Umm, but here’s the thing Aileen. That first round pick belongs to the Philadelphia 76ers if the pick becomes more valuable than the one held by the 76ers.  And right now, it appears it may end up that way.

Now, back to that trade in 2015.  From that willingness to absorb expensive contracts, the Philadelphia 76ers received the draft swap rights in 2016 (expired) and 2017. Plus the team gets a clean first round draft pick in 2019.  For this moment, let’s ignore the incredible value of that 2019 first round pick, and just look at the 2017 draft swap rights, okay?

May 17, 2016; New York, NY, USA; General view during the NBA draft lottery at New York Hilton Midtown. The Philadelphia 76ers received the first overall pick in the 2016 draft. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

May 17, 2016; New York, NY, USA; General view during the NBA draft lottery at New York Hilton Midtown. The Philadelphia 76ers received the first overall pick in the 2016 draft. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Swap Meet

The Philadelphia 76ers success has dimmed the luster of their 2017 NBA Draft. It’s a double edged sword in the NBA. Lose games, and win the lottery for future talent. Win games, and lose the lottery for future talent.

So let’s see how this works in the current ranking of the NBA today, the morning of January 20th, 2017. The Philadelphia 76ers are ranked 24th in the NBA. And just 1.5 games ahead are the Sacramento Kings.

At 24th, the Philadelphia 76ers have just a 15 percent chance of landing one of the top three prospects in the 2017 NBA Draft. The team odds are greater to land the seventh pick (59.9%), the eighth pick (23.2%) or ninth pick (1.85%). In the “no swap world”, that’s the end of it.

But now, let’s consider the swap rights of the Kings first round pick in 2017. At 22nd, the Kings have a 6.1 percent chance of landing one of the top three picks.  However, if they do, the Philadelphia 76ers will likely enforce their swap rights, and that pick will slide to the 76ers. So the probability of the 76ers getting a top three pick just went up from 15 to 21.1 percent.

Now imagine a slide of the Kings from 22 to 27th rank by seasons end.  Meanwhile, let’s just imagine the 76ers land in the playoffs.  If the Kings fall to 27, they have a 27.8 percent chance for a top three pick, and can do no worse than the seventh pick of the draft.  If the 76ers land in the playoffs, they won’t get a lottery pick.

Right now, the Philadelphia 76ers are insured for success.

Lottery Scenarios

You can check out the various lottery scenarios yourself. Just clip on the “chances” button twice in the table below, find the projected rank of the 76ers and the Kings, and see what the odds of getting their respective 2017 NBA Draft Pick.

Keep in mind if the Kings pick is more advantageous than the 76ers, the 76ers will select at that spot.

NBA: New York Knicks at Philadelphia 76ers

Can’t Lose For Winning

Thanks to some shrewd negotiations, the Philadelphia 76ers can enjoy the best of both worlds for the foreseeable future.  The team is learning how to win now, and with the imminent arrival of Ben Simmons, the team is looking at success well into the future.

But for now, the team will not feel the sting of improving too rapidly  when the 2017 NBA Draft rolls into town.  The team will still be in the lottery select group.  The team has rights to the Los Angeles Lakers first round pick (top-three protected) and the rights to swap draft places with the Sacramento Kings.

Right now, both assets are incredibly valuable as the 76ers develop, improve, and win.

It’s based on that foresight of the previous front office that continues to place the Philadelphia 76ers in the discussions for the top talent of the 2017 NBA Draft. And right now, that 2017 NBA Draft could hold the last pieces needed to build a championship team.

We at The Sixer Sense, and the entire fanbase of the Philadelphia 76ers have Rudy Gay in our thoughts and prayers, wishing him the best of care, a speedy and full recovery, and a long prosperous NBA career.

But the fortunes of the Philadelphia 76ers are inversely tied to the success of the Sacramento Kings right now. Nothing personal, but it would be a huge significance to the 76ers to make the playoffs this year, and still land a top-three pick due to the swap with the Kings. And then, top it off with the fourth or fifth pick via the Los Angeles Lakers.

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