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Barring a minor miracle, Kings likely to finish 7th in draft lottery standings

With just three games left in the season, it's very unlikely the Kings finish anywhere other than 7th in the draft lottery.


With the season winding down, draft positioning is becoming clearer and clearer. The Sixers, despite a 26 game losing streak, still weren't able to catch the Bucks for the worst record, and Milwaukee has a real chance of finishing the year with just 14 wins. Just a few weeks ago, Boston was in the race for 4th worst with the Kings, Lakers and Jazz, but valiantly tanked their way into the conversation for 3rd by losing 14 of their last 15 games.

The Kings currently sit with the 7th worst record in the NBA at 27-52 with three games remaining and that's unlikely to change in a week's time. In 6th, we have the Lakers at 25-53, who would have to beat two of the following teams to even get into a tie with the Kings (assuming the Kings lose the remainder of their games): Golden State, Memphis, Utah and San Antonio. The Utah game is certainly very winnable, but the rest aren't, even if San Antonio likely will rest their starters for that final game of the season. In 8th, the Pistons are 29-50, with games against the Bulls, Raptors and Thunder. Even if they lose all three, the Kings probably aren't going to beat two of the Clippers, Wolves and Suns to catch them in the standings.

So realistically, the best Kings fans can hope for is maybe tying with the Lakers for 6th place, but probably settling for 7th in the lottery. Honestly, that's about as good as you can hope for given the fact that the Kings are better than their record indicates. Even without taking into account the various injuries that have plagued the Kings this year, and the Rudy Gay trade early in the season, point differential shows that the Kings have played more like a 32-47 team, a record which would put them in the conversation for 10th or 11th.

At 7th, the Kings have exactly a 15% shot of moving up into the Top 3: 4.3% chance at landing the 1st pick, 4.9% chance at 2nd, and a 5.8% chance at 3rd. The most likely scenario at 59.9% is remaining at 7th, followed by a 23.2% chance of dropping to 8th. Theoretically the Kings could drop even further, but there's only a 1.8% chance of dropping to 9th and less than 0.1% chance of getting 10th.

Should the Kings end the season in a tie with the Lakers, their odds will be combined and split, raising Sacramento's odds at the top pick from 4.3% to 5.3%. A coin toss would decide the rankings should neither team jump into the top-3.

In the current NBA lottery system, the 7th worst team has won the lottery just once, when the Nets won the lottery in 2000 to get Kenyon Martin.

Drafting 7th would put the Kings in a range that would include players like Marcus Smart, Noah Vonleh, and Aaron Gordon, but likely missing out on the big names like Wiggins, Parker and Embiid.

The Kings have been slated to draft 7th more than any other pick in the draft during their time in Sacramento, getting that position six times in 29 years. Those picks include Lionel Simmons (1990), Walt Williams (1992), Bobby Hurley (1993), Jason Williams (1998), Bismack Biyombo (2011 and then traded for #10 pick Jimmer Fredette), and current rookie Ben McLemore.

Since the most current lottery system was implemented in 1994, the Kings have never managed to improve their position. Who knows, maybe this is our year.