Whatever happens at 5:10 PM Pacific, whether the Kings land the No. 1 pick or the No. 6 pick, you must remember this: no one has any clue what the Kings will do on June 24. Not Chad Ford, not DraftExpress, not me. No one. Believe little. Be skeptical. The truth is not out there.
Last year, Jerry Reynolds called Ford "a tool" last season. I think many of us took that the wrong way. Ford is a tool -- not in the perjorative, insulting sense. He doesn't belong on the cast of Tool Academy. He doesn't pop his collar, or listen to Dave Matthews Band. He doesn't do whippits in his 30s. But he is a tool in the classic sense of the word: he is an implement used to accomplish a task. The task in this example is to provide misdirection or to bloat the status of a prospect. If Ford is talking to a GM, that GM has an incentive to cause confusion about his intentions. If Ford is talking to an agent, that agent has an incentive to boost the stock of his client, or tear down another. There's truth somewhere in there, buried.
And it's true that Ford is a facilitator between agents and GMs, GMs and GMs and inside basketball and the rest of us. This last relationship -- readers and basketball -- is the one in his job title. But the other work is more important for his instances, because that's the work that gets him scoops, that gets him info and access. But that work is messy, and it results in a tortured relationship between Ford and us, the readers.
This is why I continue to defend Ford. This is messy, messy work. There is no altruistic way to report on the draft at the level he does. DX's Jonathan Givony is used like a tool in the same way. I have been used as a tool in the same way. I've been a tool, particularly last year, in the epic power struggle between the Rubio Army and Team Tyreke. Anyone who speaks with anyone with conditions attached and reports on something said in that conversation is being used. There's no way around it.
Keep this in mind, beginning at 5:31 PM. No line sourcing an anonymous source -- from Ford, from DX, from me -- is without motive. Use your own judgment.
The open thread for the Draft Lottery will come alive at 4:45.