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Breaking down the Sacramento Kings Draft Lottery Chances

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

This week features an important date for Kings fans, as the NBA Draft Lottery takes place on Tuesday, May 17th.  The lottery has become an annual tradition in disappointment for us, as the Kings have failed to move up in any of their previous 9 lottery trips.

This year, the Kings are in the 8th slot, but don't necessarily have the same odds as a typical year in the 8th slot as they finished the year tied with two other teams.  Those odds were then combined and split evenly, with the Kings getting maybe an extra combination or two.

To further complicate matters this year, the Kings have a pick swap with the Philadelphia 76ers in play.  What this means is that if the Kings pick falls ahead of Philadelphia's own pick (say the Kings get 1st and 76ers get 4th), the 76ers can (and will) swap picks so that they have the better one.  Note that this only counts for Philadelphia's own pick.  If the Kings get the 2nd pick, Philadelphia gets the 1st pick and the Lakers fall to 4th (which means their pick goes to Philadelphia), the 76ers can't swap that Lakers pick with the Kings.

As for the odds themselves, the Kings have 19 total combinations (out of 1000) to get the #1 pick.  Here are the individual odds for each place they can get:

1. 1.9%

2. 2.2%

3. 2.7%

8. 72.4%

9. 19.7%

10. 1.1%

11. 0.01%

The Kings would lose their pick if three teams behind them in the order jumped over them, but the odds on that are really, really small, so of course it's going to happen.

There have been a few times in recent memory where a team with about the same odds as the Kings has won the lottery; In 2014, the Cavaliers landed the #1 pick with a 1.7% chance and in 2008 the Bulls landed the #1 pick with the same odds.  Also in 1993, the Orlando Magic landed the #1 pick with only a 1.52% chance, although that was under a different format.

The Kings won't be able to get the #1 pick at all this year, even if they fall into it, as Philadelphia will swap it.  The best the Kings can hope for is #2.  We'll find out Tuesday if the Kings can finally get lucky.