While you’re celebrating a tough Flyers win – or perhaps worrying about the bench, Sixers coughing up a late Toronto Raptors lead – another match in Orlando is about to decide part of the future of Philadelphia. Deep in the heart of the bubble, Mike Muscala made sure the Sixers got their first pick in this year’s NBA Draft.
Wait, what? I know, it was one of the few times Muscala went to the Sixers, and of course, it happened in someone else’s uniform. How do we get here?
Most of you know that Sixers has a top 20 protected option from Thunder in this year’s draft, thanks to a transaction that brought Markelle Fultz to Orlando at the end of last year̵7;s transaction. Some of you may have forgotten that this option was originally traded for Philadelphia back in 2016 (in the Jerami Grant-Ersan Ilyasova swap), which was traded with Magic in Philadelphia in exchange for Anzejs Pasecniks (yikes), and back to Philly in that deal Fultz. Around and around we go.
The Thunder, one of the tournament’s surprise success stories behind the resurgent Chris Paul and young defender Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, flirted with the bounds of guarding the top 20 during the bubble period . Wednesday’s game against the Miami Heat is crucial for the Sixers, who will be guaranteed options if they win.
Why so? Partly due to the goofy reboot schedule. Thunder will wrap up their regular season on Friday playing just 72 games, less than a handful of teams (Dallas, Indiana, Miami) are standing in at around 20. That’s very important – by winning to 44 wins and a maximum of 28 defeats, Thunder failed to drop down to 21st draft place, thanks to an appointment between Indiana and Miami on Friday.
If you’ve got all of that so far, you’re ready for the Muscala section now. Oklahoma City and Miami played the warm-up and rotational players in the first half of Wednesday’s game before Heat called for dogs during the half-time break. The game was tight for the first 24 minutes, but both teams turned the bench in the second half, and things got worse by the end of the third, as Heat rose 18 points towards the end of the half. father. Definitely the death of Philly’s dream picking, right?
Is not. The OKC bench returned to storm in the final time slot, with rookie Darius Bazley set to score quickly to tighten things up mid-half. With the game going on in the final minutes, it’s time for a former Sixers player to win.
In the Muscala steps:
This was Muscala’s second biggest goal in the last minute, the first to finish the match with a score of 113-113 with 35 seconds to play, surpassing a 22-point comeback in the last minute. Talking about a turn from a guy, to be mild, not Philadelphia’s favorite striker ever.
It’s not an overstatement about this development – this is considered a weak class and the Sixers will end up with option 21 – but it’s another piece of shrapnel for a franchise with little flexibility right now. For those of you holding scores on home turf, the Sixers will have the right to choose that OKC, plus four people into the second round, past Atlanta (34), New York (36), of their own (49) and the Lakers (59).
There are many possibilities on how they can use the Thunder pick. The simplest usage, obviously, is to just stand patting and draft someone in the second half of the first inning, but it’s also a means to potentially trade-offs, sweeteners in an agreement to Turn bad contracts this summer (and boy, they may need more), or if we’re pessimistic, something in exchange for getting cash in front of the depressed person base fan.
For now, if you’re a Sixers fan, you can just enjoy a rare, non-binding win. Fun has become meager for Philadelphia followers this year, and it feels right to have it delivered by another team.
Follow Kyle on Twitter: @KyleNeubeck
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports
Subscribe to the Kyle’s Sixers “The New Slant” podcast on apple, Googleand Spotify