The NBA Draft Lottery is one of the most nerve-racking times of the year for some NBA fans. This year, on Tuesday, May 16th, fans of 14 different teams will sit anxiously in front of their television hoping for the best. Everybody wants the same: their favorite team to land the number one pick. For some teams, it’s more complicated than that. The Sacramento Kings lottery situation is one of the most complex situations in the league.
Sacramento is slotted at the 8th spot and 10th spot in the upcoming lottery. The 8th pick is their own, and the 10th is from the New Orleans Pelicans via the DeMarcus Cousins trade. Things get a lot more complicated than that, however.
The pick from New Orleans is top-3 protected, therefore if it lands in the top 3, back to New Orleans it goes. The chances of the Pelicans jumping that far is at about 4%, so Sacramento is basically in the clear. However, these types of things happen all the time in the lottery. For example, in 2008, the Chicago Bulls jumped from the 9th slot to the number one overall pick which they used to draft Derrick Rose. Although it’s not likely for Sacramento to lose this pick, they have to be aware of the possibility. If New Orleans did jump, then they would instead convey their 2018 first round pick to Sacramento.
Sacramento’s own pick also has a protection on it. The Kings only get their pick if it falls in the top-10. Luckily for the Kings, the chances that their pick isn’t in the top ten is around 0.001%. It’s basically a given that they should have at least one first round pick in this year’s draft.
But wait, that’s not all. Back in 2015, the Kings made one of the worst moves in all of sports by trading loads of picks, pick swaps, and players to the Philadelphia 76ers, for well, nothing. This deal comes in to play this year.
So basically, if the Kings jump ahead of the 76ers, who are slotted with the 4th best odds in the lottery, then Philly will have the right to swap picks and the Kings. This means the only way the Kings could end up with a top-3 pick in this year’s draft is if both them, and Philadelphia jump into the top-3. This would mean that a Philly swap would still result in a top-3 selection for the Kings. If the Kings were to jump, and the 76ers don’t, then Sacramento would likely pick around the 5 or 6 area with their pick.
When Kings fans are watching the lottery this year, they have a lot to consider. Between their own pick, the Pelicans pick, and the Philly pick-swap, it is a lot more complicated than just trying to land the number one pick. Heck, it’s literally impossible for the Kings to land the number one pick in this year’s draft. Still, the lottery will have an important role in how the Kings prepare themselves for next year and is something every fan must watch.