Philadelphia 76ers

NBA draft lottery odds: How Kings' 39-43 finish impacts 76ers, Celtics

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NBA draft lottery odds: How Kings' 39-43 finish impacts 76ers, Celtics

The Kings' resurgence was bad news for the Philadelphia 76ers and the Boston Celtics.

Wednesday's 136-131 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers finalized the Kings' record at 39-43, tied for the best among teams that didn't reach the NBA playoffs and now fall into the draft lottery. That means the Kings have just a 1 percent chance at the No. 1 overall pick and a 4.8 percent shot at a top-four selection when draft positions are pulled on May 14, per Tankathon.com.

Of course, the Kings won't keep the pick, regardless of position, as a result of their 2015 Nik Stauskas trade with the 76ers. If the Kings somehow draw the No. 1 pick, it will go to Philadelphia, which almost certainly would use it on Duke sensation Zion Williamson. But the real loser here is Boston, which otherwise will receive Sacramento's selection -- and it likely won't be as high as the Celtics hoped. After all, the last time the Kings won this many games in a season was 2007-08, when they finished 38-44.

Depending on a random drawing scheduled for Friday, the Kings’ draft lottery position could be 12th, 13th or 14th.

Easing Boston's pain, however, is the fact that it could have four first-round picks this year, depending on where the Memphis Grizzlies' No. 1-through-No. 8-protected pick lands. So, what the Celtics could miss in quality, they might make up for in quantity.

The Kings will have three second-round picks in this year's draft, so they won't be completely silent come June 20. While not being about to add a mid-round talent to its budding roster isn't ideal, Sacramento's future seems bright with De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley and others leading a potential march past draft lottery status and into the playoffs for the first time since 2006. 

2019 NBA draft lottery odds

Note: Odds per Tankathon.com; ties will be broken by a random drawing scheduled for Friday

1. New York Knicks (17-65)
52.1% chance at top-four pick; 14.0% for No. 1 pick

2t. Cleveland Cavaliers (19-63)
52.1% chance for top-four pick; 14.0% for No. 1 pick

2t. Phoenix Suns (19-63)
52.1% chance for top-four pick; 14.0% for No. 1 pick

4. Chicago Bulls (22-60)
48.0% chance for top-four pick; 12.5% for No. 1 pick

5. Atlanta Hawks (29-53)
42.1% chance for top-four pick; 10.5% for No. 1 pick

6. Washington Wizards (32-50)
37.2% chance for top-four pick; 9.0% for No. 1 pick

7t. New Orleans Pelicans (33-49)
36.3% chance for top-four pick; 6.0% for No. 1 pick

7t. Dallas Mavericks (33-49)
Pick goes to the Hawks if it falls outside the top 5
36.3% chance for top-four pick; 6.0% for No. 1 pick

7t. Memphis Grizzlies (33-49)
Pick goes to the Celtics if it falls outside the top 8
36.3% chance for top-four pick; 6.0% for No. 1 pick

10. Minnesota Timberwolves (36-45)
13.9% chance for top-four pick; 3.0% for No. 1 pick

11. L.A. Lakers (37-45)
9.4% chance for top-four pick; 2.0% for No. 1 pick

12t. Miami Heat (39-43)
4.8% chance for top-four pick; 1.0% for No. 1 pick

12t. Charlotte Hornets (39-43)
4.8% chance for top-four pick; 1.0% for No. 1 pick

12t. Sacramento Kings (39-43)
Pick goes to the 76ers if it's No. 1 overall
Pick goes to the Celtics if it's No. 2 through No. 14

4.8% chance for top-four pick; 1.0% for No. 1 pick

Tim Hardaway explains why Raptors are biggest threat to Warriors

Tim Hardaway explains why Raptors are biggest threat to Warriors

No offense to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the Eastern Conference hasn't exactly posed much of a threat to the Warriors in the NBA Finals during the last two title bouts.

But maybe that won't be the case this year.

With James heading to the Lakers last summer, the East is wide open for the first time in eight seasons and there are a number of teams that have the talent to win the conference and take on the Dubs in the NBA Finals should the Warriors get through the Western Conference gauntlet again. (They will.)

The Bucks, Raptors, 76ers and Celtics all could give Steph Curry and Co. issues in a potential NBA Finals matchup, but Warriors legend Tim Hardaway told 95.7 The Game's "Jo, Lo, and Dibs" on Wednesday that he believes one of those teams can present real issues for the Dubs with a title on the line.

"You know, I'm still going back and forth with who is the better matchup with the Dubs," Hardaway said. "You know, you got Toronto, they played the Dubs very well without Kawhi Leonard. You know, they came in here to Golden State and just beat them up, you know, without Kawhi Leonard. You've got the 76ers, you know, they still trying to find they way. I don't think they are quite ready for the Dubs. Somebody like Boston, I think if they get to that point they understand how to beat the Dubs. I think they understand what they need to do and if they get to that position because they got a long way to go. After they won three of four games out west, they went back home and are going through the same stuff they've been going through. So, you know, it's going to be kind of tough for them. 

"But I still feel that Toronto is probably the best team that could come out the East to play against Golden State and give them a run for their money. You know, they have the size, they have the athleticism, they can switch out on guards and they can score the basketball. So I think that team -- same way with Boston, but I don't think Boston has found they rhythm yet. I still think they are looking for they identity, still looking for who is going to do what, how are they going to do it, but I think Toronto is right there. So that's the team out of the East that can give Golden State a run for their money."

Toronto has looked like a true title contender in what could be the only year of the Kawhi era. The arrival of the 2014 NBA Finals MVP coupled with the emergence of Pascal Siakam and the acquisition of Marc Gasol has made the Raptors a force to be reckoned with.

[RELATED: Kobe Bryant reveals what sets Warriors apart from other NBA contenders]

The Raptors defeated the Warriors in both games during the regular season with Curry and Leonard each missing one of the contests. Toronto has the versatility, athleticism, veteran experience and star power to give the Warriors problems with everything on the line.

The Raptors will have to get through a different looking Eastern Conference in order to bring the defending champs north to battle for the Larry O'Brien Trophy, but if they do it'll set up a Finals matchup that Hardaway believes would be quite the test for the Dubs.

Many have taken their shot at the Warriors since Kevin Durant's arrival and none have succeeded in knocking them off their throne. Should the Raptors make it to the championship round, chances are they'll suffer the same fate their ferocious mascot did when an asteroid struck the planet 65 million years ago -- extinction.

Best of luck.

How Kings' loss to 76ers showed you can't count out NBA playoffs push

How Kings' loss to 76ers showed you can't count out NBA playoffs push

With less than a quarter of the season remaining, the Kings are scuffling a bit. After Friday's 123-114 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, they finished their four-game east-coast wing with three straight defeats. 

This isn't the script Sacramento had in mind. In a perfect world, the Kings would have slayed the Boston Celtics and 76ers on a back-to-back, and headed home with seven winnable games and a chance to jump into the 2019 postseason.

But the Kings didn’t beat the Sixers, or the Celtics on Thursday or the Washington Wizards a few days earlier. Despite defying expectations all season, the Kings are still two games under the .500 mark and a very distant ninth in the Western Conference standings.

With his team fighting to stay in the race and, maybe even more importantly, trying to avoid a major injury down the stretch, coach Dave Joerger turned to his second unit to play heavy minutes in Philly.

“I thought our second unit tonight was fantastic,” Joerger told reporters after the loss. “I thought we got the pace of the game up and down the court. We didn’t make a lot of shots.”

Marvin Bagley starred in limited minutes, scoring 15 points and grabbing six rebounds. Harry Giles put up numbers as well, hitting the Sixers for 12 points, four rebounds and four assists.

Yogi Ferrell pushed the pace. Corey Brewer continued to agitate and Bogdan Bogdanovic looked more like himself -- even if he still struggled with his shot.

The second unit outscored Philadelphia’s 51-24 on the evening, but it wasn’t enough. 

These are your 2018-19 Sacramento Kings. They might have a few stars, but that is something that will truly work itself out down the road. For now, this is a group of young players that can hit you with a big-league counter-punch, and is always in the game until the clock hits zero.

“We’ve got a young crew with good dudes who care about each other,” Joerger said. “We’ve got terrific chemistry. We like each other. We get along and we fight for each other.”

The “fight for each other” line stands out. Maybe the Kings were overmatched in Philly. Heck, the Kings’ starting point guard measured seven inches shorter than Ben Simmons, his All-Star counterpart. 

But Sacramento just doesn’t go away. The Kings don’t cash in a game, regardless of the odds. 

With 3:38 remaining, the Kings trailed by four points to a team with a 44-25 record, as well as two current All-Stars, one former All-Star and another starter averaging nearly 21 points and eight rebounds per game on the season. 

That team, not Sacramento, has been considered "underachieving" this season.

All five Sixers starters played 31 minutes or more. Four of the first-teamers played at least 34. 

That isn’t a blowout, it’s a battle against a quality up-and-coming team.

“We’re playing hard, we’re playing the right way, we’re playing together,” Joerger said. “The wins are going to come. Our guys are getting better all the time.”

Unfortunately for Joeger and his band of 20-somethings, the wins haven’t come as of late. In the high-stakes NBA, close just isn’t going to cut it. This isn’t horseshoes or hand grenades. 

“We’ve got to win, that’s the most important thing,” Marvin Bagley told reporters on Friday. “We’ve got to win, we’ve got to play hard.”

[RELATED: Kings falling in latest NBA Power Rankings]

The Kings aren’t returning home broken. They still have aspirations of making the playoffs, even if  that ship is in the harbor, loading up and almost ready to sail.

Sacramento has winnable games on the schedule. That's encouraging, considering the Kings have gone to the mat against some of the best teams the NBA has to offer and still battled to the finish. 

If you’ve watched the Kings play this season, you understand that they have a flair for the dramatic. When the odds are stacked against them, they are usually at their best. 

Maybe they don’t make the postseason, but a .500 season is still possible for the first time in nearly 15 years. Either way, the journey of this team is worth taking in each and every night.