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Top Pick Odds: What Are the Chances Sacramento Lands Blake Griffin or Ricky Rubio?

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Since Woj's latest rumor mentions The Draft Pick, let's look at our odds here.

Assume the team trades for cap space instead of talent.

As OKC and LAC continue to improve, it seems likely that Sacramento would finish with the worst record or the second worst record. (Hello, D.C.!)

If the Kings finish with the worst record, the team would have a 46.5% chance of winning the #1 pick or the #2 pick.

If the Kings finish with the second worst record, the team would have a 38.7% chance of winning the #1 pick or the #2 pick.

Let's average these since it seems a toss-up as to whether Washington or Sacramento will be worse. That would indicate a 42.6% probability of the Kings earning a top-2 pick.

This has been said to be a bad draft, with one "sure thing" (Blake Griffin), one mystical/mythical enigma (Ricky Rubio), and a bunch of solid if somewhat frightful prospects (James Harden [too small?], Stephen Curry [too gunnerific?], Greg Monroe [too soft?], Hasheem Thabeet [too raw?], Jordan Hill [too slight?], Jrue Holiday [too shot-averse?], Brandon Jennings [too shot-impotent?]). Let's just say there's a massive drop-off in confidence between No. 2 and No. 3, assuming Rubio enters the draft. You want a top-2 pick.

What are the odds Rubio enters the draft? Some sources say he will if he's a guaranteed top-3 pick. (He seems to be a guaranteed top-3 pick.) Others say he'll wait until 2010 no matter what. I have tended to believe the former, but that's possibly a function of wishful thinking. Let's place it at 60-40, in slight favor of Rubio coming out. Rubio may or may not enter the draft this summer, but it seems somewhat more likely that he would.

So we have a 42.6% probability at best of the Kings earning a top-2 pick. Within that, there's a 22.45% probability of the Kings winning the No. 1 pick. If that happens, Rubio doesn't matter -- if he comes out, you can debate Griffin vs. Rubio; if he doesn't, you get Griffin and are happy. We also then have the 20.15% probability of the Kings winning the #2 pick. Rubio matters here. If Rubio enters, you are still guaranteed one of your two fellows. If not, you are -- in all likelihood -- debating Harden, Monroe, Thabeet, Curry, Hill, Holiday and Jennings. Again, that's a big drop-off.

So using our made-up 60% probability that Rubio enters the draft, we can figure (in made-up numbers) the probability the Kings win No. 2 but Rubio stays out of the draft: 8.06%. The parallel chance the Kings win No. 2 and Rubio enters the draft: 12.09%.

Under our assumptions, there is a 22.45% probability of the Kings winning No. 1 overall and a 12.09% probability of the Kings winning No. 2 with Rubio or Griffin on the board. We combine these to find a 34.54% probability of the Kings winning Griffin or Rubio, should our assumptions hold.

Let's lay this out in chart form. (The 'x' in 'Rubio x%' indicates the probability Rubio enters the draft. Choose the one you feel most comfortable with.)

Chance Rubio Enters? Chance of Getting Griffin/Rubio
RUBIO 100% 42.6%
RUBIO 75% 37.56%
RUBIO 50% 32.5%
RUBIO 25% 27.49%
RUBIO 0% 22.45%

Best case scenario, which is Rubio definitely coming out: the Kings have a 42.6% chance of getting Griffin or Rubio. Worst case scenario, which Rubio staying out of the draft: the Kings have a 22.45% chance of getting Griffin.


Everyone has different views on Amare, on Griffin, on Rubio, on Thabeet, on Shock & Hawes. At this point, most of us know each other's positions. But it's worth taking a step back to really consider the odds of our wildest dreams coming true. Maybe it's cold and anti-emotional. But it's pragmatic.

In the best case scenario -- Rubio entering the draft, the Timberwolves not falling below the Kings in the standings, the Kings continuing to be offensive on the court -- there is a less-than-50% chance of pulling one of the top two draft targets. Think about it. My asset list is certainly shifting because of this.