I see few scenarios in which the Kings pick something other than #12 this June.
As background for those unfamiliar with draft and lottery "seeding": All playoff teams pick from #15-30, from worst record to best. So a #8 seed from one of the conferences — whichever #8 seed has the worse record — will always pick #15 (unless they trade the pick, but that's neither yon nor yonder). #16 goes to the next worse playoff team, and so on.
Picks #1-14 go to the non-playoff teams. The order isn't set until late May, when the lottery is held. The worse your record, the more entries in the lottery you get. Only picks #1-3 are up for grabs. If the #14 worst team in the league manages to get the #1 pick in the lottery, and the #1 and #2 worst gets picked #2 and #3, then basically everyone from #3 on moves down a spot. The lowest the worst team in the league can pick is #4; second worst team gets at least pick #5, etc. For the #12 worst team in the league, the lowest pick would be #14, since #15 begins the playoff picks.
Now, on to this season.
The disparity between the conferences has really mucked things up. The #9 team in the West will be in line to pick #14, with a minuscule chance of picks #1-3. This team is projected to have upwards of 47 wins. The #8 team in the East, who will pick #15 with no shot of a top-3 pick, is projected to finished with roughly 37 wins.
But here's where it gets the Kings. Here are the projections:
#14 — the West #9 (likely Golden State, Denver, Houston, Phoenix)
#13 — Portland, currently 31-28
#12 — Sacramento, currently 26-32
#11 — East's #9 (likely Atlanta, New Jersey, Washington, Philadelphia, Chicago)
#10 — East's #10
#11 — East's #11
#12-#1 — everyone else
It is really unlikely the Kings catch up to even Portland, who has 4-1/2 game on the Kings and will play out the season with the core of a team who went on a 14-game winning streak this season. And it's unlikely the Kings will falter so much they finish worse than the East's #9 team, which is currently 2 games behind Sacramento. It's incredibly unlikely the Kings would fall behind the East's #10 (currently Chicago).
Basically, Sacramento is locked in as the #12 worst non-playoff team in the league this year, with an outside chance of becoming the #11 worst non-playoff team in the league.
Here are the chances of the #12 worst non-playoff team getting a top-3 pick:
There would be a 2.5% chance to get a top-3 pick. Since the odds are even lower for the #13 and #14 worst non-playoff teams, it is highly unlikely the #12 team's status would change. Basically, the #12 worst non-playoff team is highly likely to pick #12.Since the #12 worst non-playoff team is likely to pick #12, and Sacramento is likely to be the #12 worst non-playoff team, Sacramento is likely to pick #12.
Here are the last several #12 picks in the draft.
Not a murderer's row. Not an aggravated assaulter's row. Not a shoplifter's row.Here are some player's in the #12 zone (roughly #9-15) from current mock drafts, in case you feel like watching college ball.
At this point, I doubt the Kings can pick for need if they indeed do end up with the #12 pick. If the best player available is a swingman, take the swingman. Looking at that list of previous #12s makes me nervous about picking for need this low, and also picking bigs in a lighter draft than 2007.Mostly, I'm just nervous in general. What do y'all think?