For the Sacramento Kings, the NBA Draft Lottery has been less like an actual lottery and more like Shirley Jackson's The Lottery. The Kings have seen the ping pong balls go a different direction for seven straight years. Most years, the Kings fall down a spot (or two [or three]). When you look at the odds over the years, there's only a 7.6 percent probability that the Kings would have never won a top-three pick. Yet here we are: no top-three picks despite seven straight lottery visits, included a few in which the Kings were one of the league's five worst teams.
This would be a fine year to reverse that. The Kings have about a 15 percent probability of landing in the top three. There are difference-makers throughout the lottery, but the shine is a little brighter the higher you go. An opportunity to pick Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker would be just marvelous, and would rev up Sacramento's near-term future. Getting someone like Aaron Gordon, Noah Vonleh or Doug McDermott would be neat, too. But those top prospects put you on another level. The Kings, still mired in the cellar, could use that.
Regardless of what happens in the lottery, Sacramento is still lucky, because a couple hours after the ping pong balls stop bouncing the City Council will approve the final arena plan, clearing the way for demolition and construction. That's the important thing here: that we have pro basketball here, that we have a new massive project to shoot some life into downtown, that Sacramento says "yes" to something. It'd be nice to watch Wiggins dunk all over that new arena in a couple of years, but we'd be happy to just see Travis Outlaw or Ray McCallum do that.
But I can't help but be a little greedy. It's our turn. Right? Hear us Basketball Gods: give us a top-three pick, and the Kings will rise again, and you will not regret it. It's our turn.