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Kings' 2017 NBA Draft Lottery scenarios: Best case, worst case, most likely

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Kings' 2017 NBA Draft Lottery scenarios: Best case, worst case, most likely

Programming note: Watch the Kings NBA Draft Lottery show with Jim Kozimor and Jon Wilson tonight at 5pm, streaming live right here.

The anticipation is excruciating. Hope springs eternal. Reality is brutal. It’s Draft Lottery night 2017.

It’s complicated. That is the only way to describe the Sacramento Kings 2017 NBA Lottery that will unfold on Tuesday evening. Usually the night consists of nothing more than a bunch of ping pong balls in a hopper and a wall of numerical possibilities. Sacramento can only dream of that scenario.

The Kings cannot receive the top overall selection. Through a combination of two possible picks, they can land at two, three, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve and thirteen. They can also lose both of their selections in this year’s draft and come away with nothing, but the odds of that are almost statistically impossible.

Here is a quick primer on the situation. For those who do not understand the lottery process, there are 14 ping pong balls, numbered 1-14 that are put into a hopper. Four balls are drawn at a time, creating one of 1,001 possibilities. One of those possibilities is removed from the equation, leaving 1000 potential outcomes. The 14 teams that missed the playoffs are given a specific number of those 1000 possibilities, depending on their record for the 2016-17 season.

The worst team in the league, the Brooklyn Nets in this case (although their pick is owed to the Boston Celtics), have 250 of the potential 1000 combinations. The Miami Heat, who finished the season 41-41 and barely missed the playoffs have just five combinations in play.

Only the top three selections are drawn and the remainder of the draft goes in order according to record. The worst case scenario for the Nets (besides the one that has already played out with the Celtics owning their pick), is that they fall from the top spot to the fourth overall selection.

It’s a lot more confusing when it comes to Sacramento. They currently own the eighth (28 total numerical combinations) and tenth (11 numerical combination) most combinations in the lottery, but it’s still more complex than that.

The eighth overall selection has a 2.8 percent chance of landing No. 1 overall, a 3.3 percent chance of landing No. 2 and a 3.9 percent chance of landing the third overall pick. Unfortunately for Sacramento, the Philadelphia 76ers, who currently sit in the fourth position in the lottery (119 numerical combinations), have the right to swap picks with the Kings from a trade consummated in 2015.

If the Kings land the top overall selection, the Sixers will take the pick and their selection (2, 3, 5, 6 or 7) goes directly to Sacramento. If Philly lands a better pick than Sacramento, the pick swap goes unused and is extinguished moving forward.

In addition to the 76ers quagmire, there is an extremely small chance that three teams ranked lower than Sacramento (Dallas, Sacramento (yes, their second first round selection can hurt them), Charlotte, Detroit, Denver and Miami) move ahead of them in the draft lottery. In this scenario, the Kings would fall to the 11th overall selection and their pick would go to the Chicago Bulls as part of the nightmare J.J. Hickson trade from 2011. If this worst case scenario does not play out, the Bulls get the Kings second round selection (38th overall).

There are also restrictions on the tenth overall spot that Sacramento currently occupies. The Kings received a 2017 top three protected selection from the New Orleans Pelicans as part of the DeMarcus Cousins trade. If the Pelicans somehow land a top three pick, they retain the selection and the Kings receive a Top 1 protected pick from New Orleans in either 2018, 2019 or 2020.

New Orleans selection has a 1.1 percent chance of landing the top spot, a 1.3 percent opportunity of landing No. 2 and a 1.6 percent shot at No. 3. There is an 87 percent chance that the Pelicans remain at No. 10. There is also an 8.9 percent chance they drop to 11 and a .2 percent chance of they fall to 12 and less than a .1 percent chance they select at the 13th overall spot.

Best Case Scenario

In a dream world, the 76ers land the top overall pick, Sacramento nabs the second overall selection and the Pelicans pick stays at No. 10. Kings draft at No. 2 and No. 10 and are able to add two quality players.

A similar scenario, but one that leaves the Kings wondering “what if,” Sacramento lands the top pick, Philly lands the second overall selection (swaps) and the Pelicans stay at 10. This has the same outcome as scenario one, but with a little bit of egg on the Kings’ face.

Worst Case Scenario

Both picks go away. The odds of it happening are miniscule, but the possibility remains that three teams move above the Kings, including the Pelicans. In this horrific scenario the Kings lose both their own pick (to Chicago) and the Pelicans pick (because it’s top 3 protected).

There are plenty of other unfortunate scenarios for the Kings. They could land a top three spot and Philly could land at No. 7 and swap. Any combination of the Pelicans moving into the top three is bad, although the Kings would likely get New Orleans pick in 2018.

Most Likely Scenario

The odds are in favor of Sacramento retaining their own pick which will likely fall at eight or nine. It is also very likely (96 percent chance) that New Orleans will fail to move up and remain at No. 10. In this scenario, the Kings drafty at 8/9 and 10 and avoid a rough night.  
 

After loss to Nuggets, it's clear Kings need to fix problem on the glass

After loss to Nuggets, it's clear Kings need to fix problem on the glass

SACRAMENTO -- Light in the rear. It’s a term the Sacramento Kings coaching staff has used since the beginning of training camp to describe the bigs on the roster. On Monday night at Golden 1 Center, the team’s lack of strength inside was on full display as the Denver Nuggets crushed them on the glass.

“I think we’re 29th in the league for rebounding, so that’s a little bit of our makeup of how our team is made,” Dave Joerger said following the Kings’ 114-98 loss.

Joerger is close in his assessment, but off by a few spots. His roster ranks 26th in the league in rebounding overall and 28th on the defensive side of the ball. It’s become an achilles heel for a team that has a few glaring weaknesses.

“When Willie (Cauley-Stein) and Kosta (Koufos) aren’t in there to snag every rebound, we have to get in there and help Zach (Randolph) and help Skal (Labissiere),” veteran Garrett Temple said. “Skal’s a little undersized in terms of weight and Z-Bo will put his body on people, but some people might be able to out jump him.”

On a normal night, Temple is right. Randolph and Labissiere struggle to put up big numbers on the glass. But against the Nuggets, it was Koufos and Cauley-Stein that combined to grab nine rebounds in 51 total minutes of action.

Randolph and Labissiere didn’t fair much better, finishing with 10 boards between the two of them in 38 minutes with the starters. Between the Kings’ four bigs, they were out rebounded by the Nuggets bigs by a final of 34-19.

The Nuggets came into the night a top 10 rebounding team overall and the second best offensive rebounding team in the NBA at 11.8 per game.

It’s not just the bigs that struggled to grab boards for Sacramento. Without Buddy Hield, the club’s best rebounding wing, the Kings’ were dominated 49-34 overall in rebounding, including 14-5 on the offensive glass.

“The first shot, it’s a good contest, we did everything right, except get the rebound,” rookie point guard De’Aaron Fox said. “And then they get an open shot off a second chance shot. If we can complete a lot of plays with the rebound, we’ll be okay.”

To Fox’s point, the defensive possession doesn’t end until the rebound is secured. Sacramento was outscored 19-6 on second chance points. In a 16-point game, those numbers loom large.

“Us guards, we know we have to help our bigs,” Fox said. “We know our bigs are athletic. We know they do what they do, at the end of the day, other team’s guards are helping their bigs rebound and their bigs aren’t alone.”

Outside of the four bigs, none of the other seven players to see action had more than three rebounds. It’s an issue that has to be addressed as the Kings move forward.

“There are some instances that really bothered me,” Joerger said. “We had some guys leaking out, standing at half court and that I won’t have.”

The Kings have a day of practice on Tuesday to try and sure up some of their issues. Some of the problems stem from inexperience, but some of the issue comes down to energy and effort.

It doesn’t even get easier on Wednesday. The Los Angeles Lakers rank second in the league in rebounding at 47.5 boards per game. On the plus side, they also give up the 28th most rebounds in the league.

Nuggets head coach Michael Malone suspended for game against Kings

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USATSI

Nuggets head coach Michael Malone suspended for game against Kings

Michael Malone won't be on the sideline when his Nuggets take on his former team on Monday night.

The NBA announced Monday afternoon that Malone has been suspended without pay for the game against the Kings.

The suspension stems from Malone "entering the court, halting play and making contact with a game official" during Denver's game against the Lakers on Sunday. The incident occurred midway through the second quarter.

Malone was hired as head coach of the Kings prior to the 2013-14 season. He was fired just 24 games into the 2014-15 season.

Coverage of the Nuggets and Kings gets underway at 6:30pm on NBC Sports California and streaming on the NBC Sports App.