Popovich effusive in praise of Kings rookie


Popovich effusive in praise of Kings rookie

SACRAMENTO -- The San Antonio Spurs are a model professional franchise. For nearly four decades, they have set the NBA standard of excellence and they are well on their way to another season of playoff basketball.

The Sacramento Kings would love to emulate the San Antonio’s run of success. They have gone as far as to bring in former Spurs players Garrett Temple and George Hill to help build a new foundation.

While the core of San Antonio's dynasty began with top picks David Robinson and Tim Duncan, the Spurs have mined the world for talent and more often than not, come up with diamonds.

Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Bruce Bowen and Kawhi Leonard are only a few of the pieces the Spurs have discovered as they prolonged their stretch of greatness. They’ve drafted star level players, but they’ve also created them with a system of stability and development.

Listening to head coach Gregg Popovich in pregame of the Kings/Spurs matchup Monday evening, the future Hall of Fame coach spoke glowingly of one of Sacramento’s young players. It was almost as if he was reciting a scouting pre-draft scouting report.

“He’s a pretty good enough athlete, but he’s a fantastic basketball player,” Popovich said of Kings rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic. “He really understands innately how to play the game. He’s just built for it mentally, whether it’s shooting the ball or understanding spatial arrangements on the court, who he’s playing with, what shot’s good, what shot’s not, how to play with his teammates. He’s really got a high basketball IQ. On top of that, he’s got good skills. He handles the ball, he passes, he shoots. He doesn’t have any fear, he’s not intimidated by the NBA and he comes right in and plays.”

While Popovich didn’t come out and say it, Bogdanovic would fit perfectly on his club. Fortunately for the Kings, that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

“It’s an amazing thing,” Bogdanovic told NBC Sports California Monday evening. “That’s such a great coach to have such comments for me as a rookie coming over to the NBA. I’m trying to work every single day to be better and to play basketball the right way. That’s the part I think he likes.”

After acquiring his rights on draft night 2016, the Kings signed the 25-year-old Serbian to a three-year, $27 million deal during the offseason. Once his deal expires, he still falls under restricted free agent status, allowing the Kings to match offers for the talented young wing.

In their first matchup this season against San Antonio on Dec. 23, Bogdanovic dropped in 15 points on a perfect 6-of-6 shooting for the Kings. Monday night at Golden 1 Center, he led the bench unit, finishing the night with 16 points five rebounds and five assists in the Sacramento’s 107-100 loss.

Kings lose coin flip to Bulls, hold No. 7 overall pick heading into NBA Draft Lottery


Kings lose coin flip to Bulls, hold No. 7 overall pick heading into NBA Draft Lottery

The Sacramento Kings’ win over the Houston Rockets in the season finale has officially cost the team a spot in the NBA’s Draft Lottery. After posting identical 27-55 records, Sacramento and the Chicago Bulls were part of the NBA’s coin flip rule Friday afternoon at the Board of Governors meetings. 

Unfortunately for the Kings, the Bulls picked up a victory in the game of chance and now sit in the sixth spot in the pre-lottery standings. Sacramento holds the seventh position, but both teams have an equal opportunity to move up into the top three positions when the lottery is officially held on May 15. 

Once the top three selections are drawn, the draft goes in order of worst remaining record, taking coin flip results into consideration. If the Kings do not move into the top three and no one slated behind them in the draft move up, they will draft No. 7 overall. 

There is also a small chance that Sacramento doesn’t move up and one or more lottery teams behind them in the standings jump up. In this scenario, the Kings could draft as low as 10, but the statistical probability of them falling that far is astronomical. 

Here are the odds for the potential draft positions for the Kings this season. Both the Kings and Bulls have an 18.3% chance of moving into the top three picks.

No. 1 overall selection: 5.3%
No. 2 overall selection: 6.0%
No. 3 overall selection: 7.0%
No. 7 overall selection: 57.3%
No. 8 overall selection: 22.6%
No. 9 overall selection: 1.8%
No. 10 overall selection: less than 0.0%

Kings finish tied for sixth worst record, coin flip could decide their NBA Draft fate


Kings finish tied for sixth worst record, coin flip could decide their NBA Draft fate

SACRAMENTO -- Wins matter. With the Sacramento Kings’ victory over the Houston Rockets in the season finale Wednesday evening at Golden 1 Center, the team finished the campaign at 27-55. Clearly that’s not good enough to move onto the playoff portion of the NBA season, but it places the Kings in a tie with the Chicago Bulls for the sixth worst record in the NBA.
It’s a slightly complicated procedure for deciding how many ping pong balls the Kings will have in the draft lottery. Both Chicago and Sacramento will have equal odds of moving into the top three of the draft. The two teams have a 5.3 percent chance of landing the top spot, a six percent chance of choosing at No. 2 overall and a seven percent chance of selecting third. 
Per NBA rules, a coin flip will determine which team falls in the sixth position and which will select seven if they don’t move up into the top three. The coin flip is scheduled to take place on Friday, April 13. 
The Kings and Bulls aren’t the only teams placing their fate in the hands of a shiny piece of metal. Dallas and Atlanta finished the season tied for the third and fourth worst records. The Bucks and Heat are tied for the 16th and 17th spot in the draft. San Antonio and Minnesota will flip for picks 18 and 19 and there is a complicated formula between the Pacers, Pelicans, Thunder and Jazz for picks 20-23, since all four teams finished the regular season with a 48-34 record.