April 24, 2012; Oklahoma City OK, USA; Sacramento Kings power forward DeMarcus Cousins (15) goes to the basket during the fourth quarter against Oklahoma City Thunder center Cole Aldrich (45) at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Richard Rowe-US PRESSWIRE
Two results helped the Sacramento Kings' draft position on Tuesday. Sacramento lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder in an otherwise thrilling, positive game -- someone put a hand in Daequan Cook's face, for crying out loud -- and the New Orleans Hornets beat the openly tanking Golden State Warriors. The Kings and Hornets are now knotted up for the third-worst record in the NBA at 21-44; the Cleveland Cavaliers are one loss away at 21-43. The win number is the important one to watch.
This matters not just for a potential boost in odds to land a top-3 pick, but could result in a tiebreaker on Friday that set default draft order. If all three teams are tied entering the coin flips, the "default" draft order entering the lottery would be as determined on Friday. Say the Kings won the coin flips, the Hornets placed second and the Cavs third. Say the Bobcats, Wizards and Blazers won top three picks at the lottery. The Kings would then pick No. 4, the Hornets No. 5 and the Cavs No. 6. That tiebreaker is huge for draft order.
The Kings' final opponents -- the Lakers on Thursday -- have nothing to play for, with the exception of Kobe Bryant's attempt to win the scoring title. I say Sacramento puts four guys on him. () The Cavaliers host the red-hot Wizards tonight and visit the nothing-to-play-for Bulls on Thursday. The Hornets visit the nothing-to-play-for Rockets on Thursday. Note that only one of the Nets or Raptors will remain at 22 wins as they play each other Thursday. A win by the Kings would tie them with that game's loser, plus potentially the Cavs or Hornets, should either or both win one game.
Sacramento Kings Basketball In April: It's Fantastic!