Welp, the NBA trade deadline has passed, which means one thing and one thing only for fans of the very worst teams in the league: it's draft season. We, of course, will continue to soak up the wonderful adventure that is Sacramento Kings basketball, mostly to keep tabs on the development of J.J. Hickson's turnaround 20-foot jumper, but all our hope and dreams will now be embedded in some numbered ping pong balls and some 19-year-olds.
As such, a lottery update is in order.
After Thursday's action, the Kings are tied for the fourth worst record in the league. The Bobcats ain't going nowhere -- they are 6-36 and will certainly finish with the NBA's worst record. New Orleans, 10-34, could get Eric Gordon back and waive Chris Kaman, but they are likely to finish the season as the second worst team. Here's where it gets interesting: the Wizards swapped out JaVale McGee and Nick Young for Nene on Thursday. Nene has been injured a lot this season, but he's better than McGee. Way better. Nene plus John Wall could be highly potent. Washington is 10-32 right now, 3.5 games worse than the Kings. They can end up better than Sacramento, right?
Next up: the Kings and Raptors, each sporting a 14-29 record. Toronto gave away Leandro Barbosa in a salary dump, but has lacked Andrea Bargnani for much of the season; if both teams are healthy, one figures T-Dot is better. The Nets are a half-game better at 15-29, but traded for Gerald Wallace. They are shooting for the playoffs. Detroit and Cleveland are at 16-27 and 16-25 respectively; the Pistons did nothing and have been playing really well, while Cleveland gave up Ramon Sessions and could slip down the standings some.
Golden State and Portland apparently want to slip down the standings, but in my opinion, there's no way they can "catch" the Kings. The Warriors are currently 5.5 games ahead of Sacramento, and Portland is six up. The Kings seem pretty safe from the tank squad.
I feel the need to mention that even in these situations where losing has an obvious benefit, I never root for the Kings to lose. These kids need wins, and I'll feel much better if some on-court chemistry and defensive resistance grows over the next 20 or so games. But I will certainly be rooting for the lottery "contenders" to win their own games. Let's go Raptors! Let's go Wizards! Let's go Pistons and Cavs and Warriors and Blazers! WOOO!