Wiggins? Wiggins!! Wiggins...

Wiggins? Wiggins!! Wiggins...

Wiggins.

Enthusiasts of Philadelphia sport may have never before spent so much time debating, speculating upon and worrying about the status of a player who may very well never spend a second on a Philly team roster as they already have with Kansas small forward Andrew Wiggins. We've done it all regular season, we did it in the weeks leading up to the lottery, and now that the lottery has come and gone, we're doing it more than ever.

That fateful Tuesday night, you might have thought the Wiggmania had finally been put to bed for Sixer fans. The lottery awarded us the #3 draft pick--not too shabby in absolute, but certainly not high enough to land the player long tabbed as the likely top overall selection. Instead, for a short while, the debate turned to whether the Sixers should hope that Jabari Parker or Joel Embiid would be the player to drop to them at #3, or whether the Sixers should perhaps reach for Dante Exum or Julius Randle instead.

But Wiggins was never really totally out of the picture, and based on recent reports, he's as viable for the Sixers as ever. Speculation has long been about the possibility of the Sixers trading up from #3 to #1--possibly using the #10 pick as the deal's primary grease, as suggested by both us here at the Level and our Comcast compatriot John Gonzalez.

Now, the speculation has been confirmed: ESPN's Chad Ford mentions in his latest mock draft that the Sixers have indeed discussed the possibility of trading up to #1 with Cleveland. However, likely to the relief of many Sixer fans, Ford says that giving up #10 in the deal is out for them. More appealing to the Sixers would be including Thaddeus Young as the primary get, though with Cleveland already the proud owners of one wiry, athletic power forward with limited shooting range in Tristan Thompson, it's a little unclear what they'd do with another one.

However, based on Ford's recent projections, such a trade might not even be necessary. Ford follows the recent suit of Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! by predicting Wiggins to fall to the Sixers at #3. (He has Embiid going #1 to Cleveland and Parker #2 to Milwaukee). What's more, the Kansas product may be aiming to land in Philly. Sez Ford:

This is a dream scenario for the 76ers. They would take Wiggins at No. 1 if they could, and having him fall to No. 3 would be a godsend...it's a great scenario for Wiggins, as well. Of the three top teams, his camp prefers the Sixers as the best possible fit. This could be a win-win for both.

Could be. Of course, the chances of it being that simple for the Sixers are slim. At the very least, the Cavs will likely have an extended flirtation with Wiggins to see if they can get Sam Hinkie itchy to make a deal before draft night, though good luck to Cleveland GM David Griffin trying to out-maneuver Hinkie during the Hour of Our Dark Lord. And really, as much as we think we know for sure that Hink and company want Wiggins in the worst way, we shouldn't presume for a second we know what thoughts are actually running through that most labyrinthine of brains.

Still, for the Wiggins or Bust Sixer contingent out there, this is all fairly encouraging news. As much as we may debate Embiid vs. Parker vs. Exum vs. whoever, there'd be a lot less of a need for emotional hedging and self-convincing if we can just land Wiggins at the #3 pick, draft whoever we want at #10 (Ford has us taking the Croatian point forward Dario Saric) and call it a pretty damn successful day.

And if not, we'll probably still be cool. No bad outcomes this June, just varying degrees of awesomeness. Continue getting excited.

Best of NBA: Curry, Warriors demolish Cavaliers, 126-91, at home

Best of NBA: Curry, Warriors demolish Cavaliers, 126-91, at home

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors certainly looked ready to trade some more blows with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers come June.

The two-time reigning MVP hit five 3-pointers and had 20 points while matching his season best with 11 assists in Golden State's 126-91 rout of the defending champs Monday.

Klay Thompson scored 26 points with five 3s, and Curry made four steals. Draymond Green produced his third triple-double of the season with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists while matching his career best with five blocks -- and had another dustup with King James in the process.

James had 20 points on 6-of-18 shooting and eight rebounds, and he and Green became the talk once more as their relationship turned even more testy.

Kevin Durant added 21 points, six rebounds, five assists and three blocks for the Warriors in a much-hyped matchup merely weeks after Golden State lost 109-108 in Cleveland on Christmas (see full recap).

Thomas explodes for 17 in fourth quarter to lift Celtics over Hornets
BOSTON -- Isaiah Thomas scored 17 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter, and the surging Boston Celtics beat the Charlotte Hornets 108-98 on Monday night for their ninth victory in 11games.

It was Thomas' 25th straight game with 20 or more points. He's been putting up big final quarters of late -- scoring 20 or more three times this season. No other NBA player had done it more than once entering Monday.

Al Horford had 22 points, while Kelly Olynyk and Jae Crowder added 15 apiece for Boston, which has won all three meetings with Charlotte this season.

Kemba Walker scored 24 points and Marvin Williams 21 for the Hornets, who lost their fifth straight -- all on the road.

Thomas scored 13 straight points, pushing Boston ahead 93-83 with his 3-pointer from the left wing with 7 minutes left.

Boston led 80-71 entering the final period (see full recap).

Wizards remain hot with win over Trail Blazers
WASHINGTON  -- Bradley Beal scored 25 points and John Wall had 24 as the Washington Wizards took a page from the Portland Trail Blazers' playbook by hitting 13 3-pointers in a comfortable 120-101 victory on Monday afternoon.

The Wizards, who rely less on the 3-pointer than almost any NBA team, were 13 of 23 from beyond the arc in their 12th consecutive home victory. The 3-pointer-heavy Trail Blazers shot 8 of 26 on 3-point attempts.

After Washington coach Scott Brooks called Portland guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum as good as any backcourt in the league, Beal and John Wall outplayed them. Lillard led the Blazers with 22 points and McCollum had 12, but they combined to shoot 11 of 29 from the floor.

The Wizards have won four of their last five games (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Penguins halt Capitals 9-game streak with wild 8-7 OT win

Best of NHL: Penguins halt Capitals 9-game streak with wild 8-7 OT win

PITTSBURGH -- Conor Sheary scored 34 seconds into overtime and the Pittsburgh Penguins ended the Washington Capitals' nine-game winning streak with a wild 8-7 victory Monday night that included nine second-period goals.

Sheary had two goals and an assist for the Penguins, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Evgeni Malkin picked up his 11th career hat trick during a frenetic second period, and Sidney Crosby collected his NHL-leading 27th goal to go with two assists. Bryan Rust and Nick Bonino also scored for Pittsburgh, and Matt Murray got the win despite allowing seven goals on 28 shots.

The Penguins trailed 3-0 before scoring six goals in less than 11 minutes in the second period, more goals than the Capitals had allowed in a game all season. Pittsburgh led 6-5 after 40 minutes.

Lars Eller scored twice for Washington, and T.J. Oshie, Brett Connolly, Nicklas Backstrom, Justin Williams and Andre Burakovsky also found the net. Philipp Grubauer made eight saves after coming on in relief of Braden Holtby, who was pulled during Pittsburgh's second-period deluge (see full recap).

Eichel scores twice to give Sabres' 4-1 win over Stars
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Jack Eichel scored two goals and the Buffalo Sabres defeated the Dallas Stars 4-1 on Monday.

Tyler Ennis scored 19 seconds into the first period. Ennis returned after missing 30 games with a groin injury that required surgery.

Jake McCabe also had a goal and Robin Lehner made 31 saves after missing the past three games with an illness.

The Sabres snapped a two-game losing streak and beat the Stars for the first time in four matchups.

Radek Faksa scored for the Stars in the opener of a three-game road trip. Kari Lehtonen stopped 25 shots. Dallas has lost two in a row and six of eight (see full recap).

Bishop anchors Lightning to 2-1 win over Kings
LOS ANGELES -- Brian Boyle scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period, and the Tampa Bay Lightning opened a six-game road trip with a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday.

Ben Bishop made an early mistake that led to Kyle Clifford's goal for the Kings, but bounced back to make 31 saves in his second start back from a three-week absence with a lower-body injury.

Tyler Johnson scored in the first period for the Lightning, who won for just the second time in seven games.

Peter Budaj stopped 27 shots for the Kings.

Both teams played without stars due to illness. Kings captain Anze Kopitar missed his first game since Nov. 20, and All-Star defenseman Victor Hedman missed his first game of the season for Tampa Bay (see full recap).