The Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors are still alive in the NBA Playoffs.
In the Eastern Conference, former Sixers Elton Brand and Kyle Korver will help the Hawks battle LeBron James and Co.
In the Western Conference, the Rockets rallied from a 3-1 deficit against the Los Angeles Clippers to earn the right of playing the Warriors, who feature former Sixers Andre Iguodala and Marreese Speights.
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If the Sixers harbor aspirations of heading deep in the playoffs, they’ll need to continue to overhaul their roster.
Some luck wouldn’t hurt.
That’s where the NBA Lottery comes in Tuesday night when the Sixers will be one of 14 teams participating.
Nerlens Noel will be the Sixers’ representative in New York City when the ping pong balls are unveiled.
The Sixers finished at 18-64, the third-worst record in the league, giving them 156 chances to wind up with the No. 1 pick. The Minnesota Timberwolves (16-66) have the most chances – 250 – while the New York Knicks (17-65) have 199 chances.
The Sixers can pick no lower than sixth overall.
Once the picks are determined, it will be time to start looking at the best potential players to join the Sixers.
Let’s take an advanced look at the top players from No. 1 through 6 depending on where the Sixers land:
1.Karl-Anthony Towns, 6-foot-11, power forward, Kentucky
Towns had 16 points and nine rebounds in the Final Four loss to Wisconsin. Projecting down the line, Towns is NBA ready and would certainly make an immediate impact for the Sixers. With Noel and Joel Embiid, the Sixers don’t necessarily need another big man. If they want to take the best player, Towns would fit. They can figure out how it will all work out later.
2.Jahlil Okafor, 6-foot-11, power forward, Duke
Okafor won a national championship as a freshman, though he was a bit up and down in the NCAA Tournament. Watching Okafor, it’s easy to see immense ability in every facet. His free throw shooting is average, but his footwork and skills in the low post are quite advanced. Okafor has all the skills to become an NBA All-Star.
3.D’Angelo Russell, 6-foot-5, shooting guard, Ohio State
Russell would fill a major need for the Sixers. Robert Covington came in and helped with his long range shooting, but the Sixers desperately covet a shooting guard to help open up the low post. Russell can certainly step in and contribute right away with such a young team.
4.Emmanuel Mudiay, 6-foot-5 point guard, China
Instead of playing in college, Mudiay decided to play professionally for one year in China. He suffered an injury and didn’t complete the season. Looking down the road, Mudiay has a myriad of skills which will benefit him in the NBA. He has size, great ballhandling skills and the ability to shoot from instance.
5.Willie Cauley-Stein, 7-foot-0 center, Kentucky
Cauley-Stein may not be as skilled in the low post as Towns, but he’s an athletic center who can block shots and run the floor. He has good hands and would contribute right away as a rookie without as many zone defenses. Cauley-Stein has improved every season. It would be interesting to see Cauley-Stein in a Sixers uniform.
6.Justise Winslow, 6-foot-6 small forward, Duke
Winslow was one of the most improved players on Duke. He was also one of the most improved players in the country. Winslow posted 30 points and 18 rebounds in the two Final Four games against Michigan State and Wisconsin. More than that, he became a solid all-around player, especially on defense. Winslow’s future sure looks bright.