SACRAMENTO -- Five years ago today, the NBA made the decision to save the Sacramento Kings. Fans are hoping for a little more of that same luck Tuesday evening when the NBA’s Draft Lottery takes place in Chicago.
It’s an annual event in Sacramento. Like a bad karaoke singer on open mic night, the Kings come back to the lottery show every year hoping to hit the high notes. More often that not, they are sent off the stage disappointed.
De’Aaron Fox, last season’s 5th overall selection, will represent Sacramento at the lottery, which is scheduled for 4:30 pm PST. He’ll be joined by Assistant General Manager Ken Catanella, who will hang out in the lottery room and oversee the process.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The Kings finished the season tied with the Chicago Bulls with a 27-55 record. After losing a coin flip to the Chicago, Sacramento currently sits in the seventh spot in the draft lottery. Both the Bulls and Kings have an equal 18.3 percent chance of landing in the top three of the lottery.
Due to lottery restrictions, the Kings can select at 1, 2 or 3 if they luck their way into the top of the draft. If they don’t move up, they will select at 7, 8 or 9, depending on whether another franchise behind them in the lottery moves into one of the top three spots. They can fall as low as 10 in the draft, but the chances of three lower seeded teams moving into the top three is less than .0 percent.
BEST CASE SCENARIO
Sacramento has a 5.3 percent chance of landing the top overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft. Waiting at the top spot is 7-foot-1 center, DeAndre Ayton, out of Arizona. Ayton is a franchise altering big with superstar potential. The Kings would have to re-balance their roster if they landed the top spot, but Ayton has an NBA ready body and should be able to start in year one.
SECOND BEST SCENARIO
The Kings have a 6 percent chance of landing the second spot in the NBA Draft Lottery. Ayton will likely be gone with the No. 1 overall selection, but Luka Doncic looks like option 1B. The smooth shooting point forward would fit perfectly alongside De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic in the starting lineup. He’s a high basketball IQ player that has played professionally in Europe for years. Doncic has star potential, but his ceiling is not considered as high as Ayton’s.
THIRD BEST SCENARIO
If Sacramento misses out on the top two selections, the draft opens up at No. 3. Big men Marvin Bagley III and Jaren Jackson Jr. are slated to go in the top four, but if he clears all the medical hurdles, 6-foot-10 small forward Michael Porter Jr. would fit nicely in the Kings lineup. All three of these players have star potential. Porter Jr. fits a major need for Sacramento, but he underwent back surgery in his freshman year at Missouri, which adds a major question mark.
FOURTH BEST SCENARIO
If the Kings miss out on one of the top spots and no one leap frogs past them, they will at No. 7. It’s not a bad place to be and Sacramento has a 57.3 percent chance of landing this spot. Porter Jr. might fall this low. Shot blocking specialist Mo Bamba out of Texas might be here as well. The Kings can get quality at this spot and possibly even luck into a star level player.
WORST CASE SCENARIO PART I
Dropping a spot isn’t a death blow for the Kings, but it likely changes the potential impact of the players available. Bamba and Porter Jr. might slip this far, but it’s unlikely. Duke’s Wendell Carter Jr. is an option, but Sacramento has plenty of bigs. Small forwards Mykal Bridges and Miles Bridges are both options, although they project slightly lower than this on most draft boards. Falling a spot isn’t ideal, but there are still quality players available and you might find a diamond in the rough here. Sacramento has a 22.6 percent chance of falling to No. 8.
WORST CASE SCENARIO PART II
There is only a 1.8 percent chance that two teams move ahead of the Kings in the lottery and they end up drafting No. 9. It’s unlikely, but Sacramento has made defying lottery odds an artform. If they fall here, all options are on the table. Carter Jr., both Bridges and maybe even a player like Kentucky’s Kevin Knox become targets. This is the point of the draft where you balance need with best player available.