We all know this already, but there is something seriously wrong with the NBA draft lottery process when Sixers fans become Lakers fans late in the season and actively start rooting against their own team.
Oh well. It's the world we live in and it certainly has helped the Sixers the last few years.
The Lakers pulled off a stunning win in San Antonio Wednesday night, their second in a row as Luke Walton becomes the most disliked man in L.A. As the buzzer sounded Wednesday and Walton met Gregg Popovich at midcourt for a handshake, Walton was laughing with an "oops" look on his face.
The Lakers' win really helped the Sixers because it makes it extremely difficult for L.A. to move back behind the Suns for the NBA's second-worst record.
Here's how the bottom-seven currently shakes out, with only a handful of games left:
1. Nets: 19-59 (pick goes to Boston)
2. Suns: 22-57
3. Lakers: 23-55 (pick goes to Sixers if it doesn't fall in the top 3)
4. Magic: 27-51
5. Sixers: 28-50
6. Knicks: 30-48
7. Kings: 31-47
2nd-worst vs. 3rd-worst
The Suns have lost 13 games in a row and have the youngest starting lineup in NBA history. Phoenix has three games left -- home vs. Oklahoma City, home vs. Dallas, at Sacramento.
The difference between finishing with the second-worst record and the third-worst record is significant for lottery purposes. The Lakers' finishing third-worst would improve the Sixers' chances of getting their top-three protected pick by 9 percent.
(Even if that Lakers pick doesn't convey to the Sixers this year, it becomes completely unprotected next year. That could be great. It could also be less-than-great, because it gives Magic Johnson and the Lakers another summer to potentially lure good players to L.A. The Lakers are not in a good salary cap situation, but with young assets like D'Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram, they could make the sort of trade this summer that improves them in the short-term, thus making that pick less valuable.)
The team that finishes in that two-spot currently occupied by the Suns has a 55.8 percent chance of landing a top-3 pick, compared to a 46.9 percent chance for the team in the three-spot.
Even if the Suns somehow win one of their final three games to finish 23-59, the Lakers would have to lose all four of their remaining games just to tie for the second-worst record.
More help on the way?
There isn't much time for those bottom-seven teams to change positions. Brooklyn is essentially locked into the worst record even after winning three in a row. The Magic and Sixers will almost certainly finish with the fourth- and fifth-worst records.
But the Knicks at 6 and Kings at 7 could flip-flop, which would be another big benefit for the Sixers.
The Sixers have a 29.1 percent chance of landing in the top three with their own pick. The Kings have a 15 percent chance. Because the Sixers have pick swap rights with Sacramento, you add those two numbers together and subtract the very small decimal chance that the Sixers and Kings fall within the top three. So you're at about a 44 percent chance that the Sixers get a top-three pick.
But if the Kings -- currently one game better than the Knicks -- can finish behind New York, the Sixers' chances of getting a top-three pick increase by 6.5 percent.
There is a massive game Friday night at Staples Center between the Kings and the Lakers. A Lakers win would benefit the Sixers in two ways. It's the most important game for the Sixers in about a month and it doesn't even involve them. Good system.