WE'VE LOWERED our standards.

There was a time when we looked at the NBA draft and did not view every other hotshot kid who put his name in the hat as a franchise savior worth tanking the season to acquire.

We didn't confuse good players with potential All-Stars and potential All-Stars with transformative prospects.

I've said before that some players are called "generational" because those players don't come around that often. They certainly don't come around every June.

So for those Sixers fans upset that the team did not accept its prescribed fate and sink to the rock-bottom of the NBA standings, I say, take a deep breath.

And to those who want the Sixers to lose the rest of their few remaining games, so as to not damage their chance for a view more pingpong balls in the NBA lottery, I say, relax.

If the Sixers reach 30 wins and don't slightly increase their advantage for a gambit where the best odds are only 25 percent, you aren't likely to miss out on what you think you will.

Only time will tell if the 2017 NBA draft is overrated, but I'm betting that in the long run, it will not turn out the quality players some predict it will.

This is not a franchise-altering draft.

There are two very good prospects - Washington freshman combo guard Markelle Fultz and UCLA freshman point guard Lonzo Ball - and then it becomes a buyer's preference of good talent that doesn't really differentiate itself.

The player drafted at eight or nine might end up being as good as or possibly better than the one selected at three or four.

There is a strong probability that none of these guys is a player whom you'll be able to stamp as the foundation of a franchise.

They just aren't that special enough.

It once was much easier to predict whether a prospect had a shot at becoming a franchise-changer.

Shaquille O'Neal was the next coming of Wilt Chamberlain and LeBron James was another Magic Johnson.

The scouting comparison of Fultz is to Houston Rockets guard James Harden. Ball is being viewed as a point guard like Jason Kidd. If Fultz and/or Ball lives up to the comparisons to those potential Naismith Hall of Fame inductees, both will have outstanding careers.

Still, Chamberlain and Johnson are two of the top NBA players of all time. O'Neal is on that list, and James will make it someday, too.

Kidd and Harden? I don't think so.

The next James will not be drafted on June 22. I'm not convinced that the next Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid will be, either. In Simmons, who was compared to James, and Embiid, who was said to resemble Hakeem Olajuwon, the Sixers have reached their quota of potential transformative prospects.

Injuries to both have cast a pall on the future, but if either was in the 2017 draft, he would be a consensus No. 1 pick by far.

Would you rather have the next Magic Johnson or next James Harden, the next Jason Kidd or next Hakeem Olajuwon?

Of course, the Sixers would love to get Fultz or Ball, but much of that is because both are viewed as strong complementary pieces to Simmons and Embiid.

Still, unless the Sixers are incredibly lucky in the draft lottery, they lost any chance they had for Fultz or Ball when they went 10-5 in January, which gave them too many wins.

Under those circumstances, it's a case of picking from who is left, and it doesn't matter if the Sixers are drafting third or eighth, which right now is the lowest they can fall.

I don't see the differences that separate Duke forward Jayson Tatum from Kansas forward Josh Jackson from Kentucky point guard De'Aaron Fox from Florida State forward Jonathan Isaac from French point guard Frank Ntilikina from North Carolina State point guard Dennis Smith Jr. from Arizona forward Lauri Markkanen from Kentucky guard Malik Monk.

Some of the scouting comparisons range from such players as like Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Dennis Schroder, Steve Francis, Rashard Lewis and Ryan Anderson.

Some of the lesser comparisons go with higher-rated prospects.

All we know is that they are all young with raw ability that was not sufficiently groomed in one year in college.

Nobody has seen any of these guys long enough to know with confidence which one will be the better player in five years.

Whether the Sixers draft third, fifth or eighth, it will be on president/general manager Bryan Colangelo and his staff to find the right player to keep the Sixers moving forward. If the Sixers can't get a good player out of the 2017 draft, it will be because their scouting department messed up and not because they slipped in the draft order because they had fewer pingpong balls in the NBA lottery.

smallwj@phillynews.com

@SmallTerp