With a healthy Ben Simmons and (hopefully) Joel Embiid, Sixers fans will no doubt be looking forward to the return of competitive basketball after the four-and-a-half-month hiatus. Whilst seeing how the new look, Simmons at Power Foward, Sixers fare in their championship push is the main interest, there is another reason for Sixers fans to tune in to non-Sixers seeding games and follow the standings closely.
When Elton Brand traded failed number one overall draft pick Markelle Fultz to the Orlando Magic at the February 2019 trade deadline, the headline return of the trade (sorry Jonathan Simmons) was a heavily protected 2020 Oklahoma City draft pick. This draft pick will only convey to the Sixers if it fell between 21-30 otherwise it will convert into the less valuable OKC second round picks in 2022 and 2023.
The Sixers hopes of netting a first round pick out of the trade plummeted last summer after OKC GM Sam Presti jettisoned Jerami Grant, Paul George and Russell Westbrook primarily for young players Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Landry Shamet and a bevy of draft picks. Veterans Chris Paul and Danilo Gallinari were also included in the trades for salary matching purposes but were not expected to hang around and be long term contributors in OKC.
The Thunder surprised everyone with a strong start to this season, and with a 31-20 record at the trade deadline they elected to keep Paul, Gallinari and veteran Steven Adams and make a push for the playoffs. When the season was suspended in March, OKC were tied for 5th in the Western Conference with a 40-24 record, equial ninth best in the league.
The Sixers will get the OKC pick if it falls between 21-30, and as you can see from the screenshot taken from everyone’s favourite process era website, www.tankathon.com, if the season didn’t restart, the OKC pick would convey to the Sixers.
For the pick to convey, the Sixers need the Thunder to finish with a better record than any (at least) three of Dallas, Indiana, Houston, Miami, Utah and.in a cruel twise of fate, the Sixers who could actually play themselves out of a first round pick if they jump ahead of the Thunder.
Sixers fans should be rooting for the Chris Paul led Thunder in their eight remaining seeding games and hoping the Mavericks, Pacers, Rockets, Heat and Jazz struggle.
Below is a quick guide on some defining games over the first week of seeding games (Sixers preferred winner in bold).
July 30 – New Orleans vs Utah
August 1 – Denver vs Miami, OKC vs Utah,
August 2 – Milwaukee vs Houston, Phoenix vs Dallas
August 3 – Toronto vs Miami, OKC vs Denver, Washington vs Indiana, LA Lakers vs Utah
August 4 – Sacramento vs Dallas, Orlando vs Indiana, Boston vs Miami, Portland vs Houston
August 5 – Memphis vs Utah, OKC vs LA Lakers