The regular season is complete, and once again, it did not result in a playoff berth for the Kings. Consequently, for the 15th consecutive year, Sacramento's first-round draft pick will fall in the lottery.
That has been known since the Kings were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention last week, but their exact position in the draft lottery wasn't finalized until their 121-99 season-ending loss to the Utah Jazz on Sunday night. At 31-41, the Kings tied with the Chicago Bulls and New Orleans Pelicans for the eighth-worst record in the league this season.
As a result, a random drawing will be held to determine how those three teams slot in the draft lottery. At best, the Kings could be slotted eighth; at worst, they could be slotted 10th.
Why is that important? Since the Kings, Bulls and Pelicans all tied with the same record, they'll have identical odds to leapfrog into the top four picks. Once the ping pong balls determine which teams have the top four picks, the remaining lottery teams fill out pick Nos. 5 through 14 in the draft order according to record.
So, let's say the Kings win the random drawing and are slotted eighth heading into the lottery. Assuming they don't leapfrog into the top four, they could pick anywhere between eighth and 12th overall, depending on how many teams below them jump above them in the draft lottery, if any.
If the Kings are slotted ninth and don't leapfrog into the top four, they could pick anywhere from ninth to 13th overall. And if they're slotted 10th and don't jump into the top four, they could pick anywhere from 10th to 14th overall.
Regardless of where they end up, the Kings should be in a position to acquire yet another promising young player to add to De'Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield. Of course, obviously, they'd prefer to have as high of a pick as possible.