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With the 12th Pick in the 2008 NBA Draft

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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:

#1 Pick: 0.7%
#2 Pick: 0.8%
#3 Pick: 1.0%

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.

  1. Thaddeus Young (should be on All-Rookie team)
  2. Hilton Armstrong (averaging 11 minutes/game)
  3. Yaroslav Korolev (out of the league)
  4. Robert Swift (might as well be out of the league)
  5. Nick Collison (solid rotation player)
  6. Melvin Ely (NBA champion on a technicality)
  7. Vladimir Radmanovic (awesome snowboarder)
  8. Etan Thomas (poet)
  9. Aleksander Radojevic (ummm...)
  10. Michael Doleac (longer NBA career than Keith Van Horn)
  11. Austin Croshere (decent career)
  12. Vitaly Potapenko (no comment)

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.

D.J. Augustin, PG, Texas
Chase Budinger, SG, Arizona
Roy Hibbert, C, Georgetown
Nicolas Batum, SF, France
Kevin Love, PF, UCLA
Ty Lawson, PG, North Carolina
Anthony Randolph, PF, LSU
Russell Westbrook, SG, USC
Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn
Anthony Randolph, PF, LSU
O.J. Mayo, SG, USC
Darrell Arthur, PF, Kansas
Roy Hibbert, C, Georgetown
Darren Collison, PG, UCLA

Chad Ford, ESPN
Danilo Gallinari, SF, Italy
O.J. Mayo, SG, USC
D.J. Augustin, PG, Texas
Russell Westbrook, SG, USC
Chase Budinger, SG, Arizona
Ty Lawson, PG, North Carolina
Marreese Speights, C, Florida

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?