Is Muscala a secret agent for Philadelphia?
Now with the Thunder, Muscala hit the game-winning 3-pointer in Oklahoma City’s 116-115 win over the Heat on Wednesday. That result ensured the Thunder will send their 2020 first-round pick to the 76ers.
Oklahoma City owed its first-rounder only if it landed in the top 2020. Otherwise, the Thunder would’ve conveyed their 2022 and 2023 second-rounders.*
The Thunder could pivot into tanking by then, and high second-rounders in 2022 and 2023 might be more valuable than a high-20s pick in this especially unpredictable draft. But the first-rounder is the safer bet. There’s also value in not waiting two and three years for the return.
Philadelphia helped its own cause by losing to the Raptors, 125-121. The 76ers own first-round pick (which the Nets own) will be ahead of Oklahoma City’s, pushing that Thunder pick into the unprotected range.
These results – along with the Pacers beating the Rockets (108-104) and Clippers beating the Nuggets (124-111) – mean seven of eight first-round playoff matchups are set.
1. Bucks vs. 8. Magic
2. Raptors vs. 7. Nets
3. Celtics vs. 6. 76ers
4/5 Heat vs. 4/5 Pacers
1. Lakers vs. play-in winner
2. Clippers vs. 7. Mavericks
3. Nuggets vs. 6. Jazz
4/5 Thunder vs. 4/5 Rockets
Though neither 4/5 seeds are determined, both matchups are. The seeding differences don’t really matter without homecourt advantage in the bubble.