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5 reasons to stay glued to NBA draft after Sixers pick at No. 1

5 reasons to stay glued to NBA draft after Sixers pick at No. 1

It’s finally here. NBA draft night.

While you may think you know what the Sixers will do now that the team has moved up to No. 1 (select Markelle Fultz), that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of intrigue throughout the evening.

Here’s an outline of five reasons to keep your eyes glued on the Sixers and the league’s 29 other teams during the event.

Deep impact
Sure, the Sixers are likely to take Fultz. But this isn’t one of those drafts in which the talent tops out at the No. 1.

This is projected to be a very deep draft class with value well into the first round and some serious finds in the second.

“While Markelle Fultz is most experts' pick as the top player, the general consensus is there's no surefire superstar — Fultz included — in this class. Realistically, there are probably a dozen guys who could end up being All-NBA players,” CBS Sports’ Brad Botkin said.

Busted!
While there will be All-Stars and maybe even some superstars to come out of this draft, there’s also a likelihood of a few busts.

Whether it’s the wrong fit, injuries or just a lack of skills to compete at the next level, several high draft picks are bound to be misses for the teams that select them.

That has particularly been the case at No. 2, as Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Abrams recently pointed out.

“(Kevin) Durant dethroned The King — LeBron James, that is — earlier this month, claiming a Finals MVP trophy to go with that elusive championship ring. But most No. 2 picks never ascend to such heights; in fact, over the past 20 years, only four have even become All-Stars,” Abrams said.

Yikes.

Movers and shakers
The draft picks are only half of the fun. Don’t forget about the trades.

The Sixers got the pre-draft moves started by pulling off their deal with the Celtics for the No. 1 overall pick. 

Things really started heating up after that. D’Angelo Russell, Brook Lopez and Dwight Howard have all been moved. And there have been 10 times as many rumored trades thrown around.

Don’t expect that to stop on draft night.

“The NBA Finals just ended, the draft hasn't started, free agency has yet to begin, and it feels as if the landscape has shifted noticeably,” ESPN’s J.A. Adande said. “Welcome to the new swap season.”

Legacies on the line
The players aren’t the only ones that can start making a name for themselves at the draft. Executives have plenty to gain and lose as well.

The right move and you’re untouchable in your city. The wrong decision, and … let’s just say you don’t want to make an incorrect choice.

With the fate of franchises in their hands, NBA execs have the power to alter the league’s landscape with a single deal.

Those transactions will stick with front-office members forever, as Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Mannix explained will be the case with Danny Ainge for sending the draft’s top pick to the Sixers instead of snagging Fultz.

“Legacies are defined by deals like this. Ainge’s will be, too,” Mannix said. “His executive career is now intertwined with Fultz’s playing one, forever linked. The gambling executive just placed his biggest bet, against a player few around the league would bet against.”

Dress for success
Of course, the draft isn’t all high drama.

There’s guaranteed to be plenty of smiles and tears of joy as young men realize their life-long dream of making it to the NBA.

There may also be a few laughs, potentially at the expense of a draft hopeful’s fashion faux pas.

“The fun part is sitting around with your friends and coworkers and playing fashion critic as a bunch of kids shake hands with the NBA commissioner in suits and shoes that are so outlandish that we occasionally ask ourselves how anyone allowed them to leave the boutique,” CBS Sports’ Kellen Becoats said.

Give and Go: How will Sixers fare on season-long homestand?

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Give and Go: How will Sixers fare on season-long homestand?

Each week, our resident basketball analysts will discuss some of the hottest topics involving the Sixers.

Running the Give and Go are NBC Sports Philadelphia anchor/reporter Marshall Harris, NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com producer/reporter Paul Hudrick and NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com producer/reporter Matt Haughton.

In this edition, we'll look at whether the Sixers can keep their momentum going during their upcoming six-game homestand.

Harris
At first glance, I thought the Sixers were looking at a winning homestand of 4-2. But with the latest injury to Justin Anderson (out at least three weeks with shin splints), the Sixers’ depth chart at guard could severely cripple those hopes. 

While they start Ben Simmons at point guard and JJ Redick at the shooting guard, the bench is left with only T.J. McConnell, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and rookie Furkan Korkmaz.

It’s hard to believe that guard rotation (or even a fully healthy one) would slow down Golden State. That's likely a loss any way you look at it with the Warriors coming off Thursday's loss to Boston.

The Sixers should handle Utah just as they did in Salt Lake City. But after that, the backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum will likely be tough to endure.

Orlando should offer a very strong chance at a win. The Magic have cooled off since a 6-2 start. Any team that can lose to the Bulls at home should be beatable by Brett Brown's squad.

The last two games against Cleveland and Washington should be great measuring sticks as top teams in the East. Both the Cavaliers and Wizards have been inconsistent. You'd hope the Sixers would be a little healthier by the last two games on the homestand. It will likely come down to late-game execution and I can see the Sixers earning a split.

So that's a 3-3 homestand from my vantage point with a chance to get a fourth win depending on Joel Embiid's availability. But with six games in 12 days, you have to wonder if "load management" won't play a factor here. So I'll stick with a shorthanded 3-3, accounting for the possibility of a JoJo no-show.

Hudrick
Unfortunately, the home stand will likely start with an L to the Warriors. As Marshall eluded to, the Warriors are coming off a loss on Thursday. That does not bode well for the Sixers.

The team has been playing at such a high level. Here’s the crazy thing though: they went 3-2 on a West Coast trip where JJ Redick and Dario Saric, two extremely important cogs in the Sixers’ lineup, contributed very little. 

Redick will right the ship. He has the track record. Sometimes, you’re just off. If it’s a mechanical issue, you know Redick will get it figured out. Saric’s struggles are likely the result of a role change and fatigue from playing so much basketball. While he doesn’t have the track record of Redick, I expect Saric to bounce back as well. 

Still, the Sixers are up against a gauntlet. After Saturday’s matchup with Golden State, the team hosts the Jazz, Trail Blazers and Magic before wrapping the home stand against the Wizards and Cavs. In my eyes, that’s three very winnable games and three extremely challenging contests. If they go 3-3, there would be nothing to be upset about.

But I think they pull out one of the games against the Wizards or Cavs and they go 4-2 over the next six games at the Wells Fargo Center.

Haughton
This is tricky because it combines how well the Sixers are currently playing with the level of competition set to enter the Wells Fargo Center.

On the Sixers’ end, things couldn’t be much better. The team capped off the five-game road trip with an exclamation mark as Joel Embiid put on a show for the ages against the Clippers and Lakers in Los Angeles. More importantly, the Sixers finished the trip with a 3-2 mark (should have been 4-1 if not for the “rogue” moment in Sacramento). Either way, the Sixers are in a solid position as they return to the Wells Fargo Center for the first time in just over two weeks.

As for the opponents, there aren’t any real slouches on the slate. The only team the Sixers will face below the .500 mark is the Rudy Gobert-less Utah Jazz, who they already took care of on the road.

Things get started with the champion Golden State Warriors, who had won seven straight prior to Thursday’s loss to Boston. The Sixers will also face Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum and the Portland Trail Blazers before a date with the surprising Orlando Magic. They finish off the home stretch with Eastern Conference heavyweights Cleveland and Washington.

I would say a split would be more than acceptable for the Sixers, but I’ll get a bit greedy and say the young squad feeds off the home crowd’s energy to go 4-2 during the stint with losses only to the Warriors and Cavaliers.

Best of NBA: Spurs overcome 23-point deficit to beat Thunder

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Best of NBA: Spurs overcome 23-point deficit to beat Thunder

SAN ANTONIO -- LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 points and the San Antonio Spurs overcame a 23-point deficit to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 104-101 on Friday night.

Danny Green added 17 points, and Pau Gasol had 14 points to help San Antonio end Oklahoma City's three-game winning streak.

Aldridge put back of Green's missed 3-pointer gave the Spurs a 102-99 lead with 24.2 seconds remaining.

The Thunder missed two 3-pointers on the ensuing possession, but Carmelo Anthony tracked down a second offensive rebound and made a 25-footer with his foot on the 3-point line to cut the lead to 102-101.

Gasol made two free throws, and Russell Westbrook stumbled to the court and threw up an airball on a 3-point attempt.

Anthony had 20 points to lead the Thunder. Westbrook was held to 15 points after scoring 10 in the opening period. He was 5 for 22 from the field (see full recap).

LeBron scores 39 as Cavs rally past Clippers in OT
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James scored 39 points, Kevin Love added 25 and the Cleveland Cavaliers won their fourth straight, 118-113 in overtime on Friday night over the skidding Los Angeles Clippers, who dropped their seventh in a row.

Love drained a pair of 3-pointers in OT, when the Cavs outscored the Clippers 13-8. Dwyane Wade added 23 points and 11 rebounds for Cleveland.

The Cavs' win wasn't eye-pleasing, but it was another step in the right direction for the Eastern Conference champions, who went 3-1 on a just-completed road trip.

The Clippers are headed the other way. Los Angeles has lost nine of 10 since a 4-0 start.

Blake Griffin scored 23 and DeAndre Jordan had 20 points and 22 rebounds for Los Angeles, which didn't give up the lead until the first minute of overtime. The Clippers had chances to put the Cavs away in regulation, but they didn't execute down the stretch and then had defensive breakdowns in overtime (see full recap).

Bulls overcome Walker’s 47 points to snap skid
CHICAGO -- Justin Holiday had 27 points and the Chicago Bulls beat the skidding Charlotte Hornets 123-120 on Friday night, overcoming a 47-point outburst by Kemba Walker to snap their five-game losing streak.

Walker finished five points shy of his career high but missed a driving layup with Charlotte trailing by one in the closing seconds.

Lauri Markkanen then hit two free throws to make it 123-120 with 2.6 seconds left, securing the Bulls' third win in 13 games this season. Charlotte has dropped six straight.

Last in the NBA in scoring and field goal percentage, Chicago shot 52 percent and hit 17 of 34 3-pointers.

Holiday and Denzel Valentine, who had 18 points, each sank four from long range. Kris Dunn scored 22, Markkanen added 16 and the Bulls came out on top after a tense finish.

Charlotte's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist rebounded a missed shot by Chicago's Robin Lopez with about 10 seconds left. After a timeout, a driving Walker was bothered by a rotating Markkanen as Walker tried to put the Hornets ahead (see full recap).