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Where will the Kings end up?

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Studying the schedules of the Sacramento’s fellow tankers.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

As of this moment in time, the Kings will be drafting the 7th and 10th overall picks in June, assuming the ping pong balls fall as they should. Recently, Sacramento has bounced around in the lottery positioning, dipping as low as 6th place and jumping as high as 8th, while New Orleans has inched up the rankings, bit by bit. There are several factors that have caused the scrambled standings: other organizations are tanking harder than us, some teams are fighting for playoff positioning as well as the final playoff spots, and there may be contenders looking to rest their starters before the post season battles commence.

There’s also the fact that Dave Joerger still has his squad pushing for wins, even while management has been resting veterans regularly. Sacramento has won four of their past six games, including two in a row, and they next face the nosediving, awful, incorrigible, fake champion Los Angeles Lakers.

With the Kings on a bit of a streak, and the rest of the league looking to lose, the question becomes, what position are the Kings likely to end up in?

Here are the standings as of today.

Current Lottery

Position Team Record Games Behind
Position Team Record Games Behind
1 Nets 19-59 --
2 Suns 22-56 3
3 Lakers 22-55 3.5
4 Magic 27-51 8
5 Sixers 28-50 9
6 Knicks 30-48 11
7 Kings 31-47 12
8 Timberwolves 31-46 12.5
9 Mavericks 32-45 13.5
10 Pelicans 33-45 14
11 Pistons 35-42 16.5
12 Hornets 36-42 17
T-13 Heat 37-40 18.5
T-13 Nuggets 37-40 18.5

For the purposes of actual impact, let’s cut out the bottom portion and top portion of the lottery standings. The Kings are highly unlikely to drop below the 6th seed and New Orleans probably isn’t going to jump past the 11th. That reduction leaves us with six different teams battling for six positions.

Reduced Standings

Position Team Record Games Behind
Position Team Record Games Behind
6 Knicks 30-48 --
7 Kings 31-47 1
8 T-Wolves 31-46 1.5
9 Mavericks 32-45 2.5
10 Pelicans 33-45 3
11 Pistons 35-42 5.5

Here’s the remaining schedule for each “competitor”.

NYK

Date Location Opponent Opp Record Opponent Factors Projected W/L
Date Location Opponent Opp Record Opponent Factors Projected W/L
6-Apr Home Washington 47-31 None L
7-Apr Away Memphis 42-36 The Grizzlies may be resting starters if their position is set in the standings. L
9-Apr Home Toronto 47-31 None L
12-Apr Home Philadelphia 28-50 The Sixers are injury riddled and tanking. W

SAC

Date Location Opponent Opp Record Opponent Factors Projected W/L
Date Location Opponent Opp Record Opponent Factors Projected W/L
7-Apr Away LAL 22-55 The Lakers have more reason to lose than anyone due to their pick conveyance to Philadelphia. W
9-Apr Home Houston 52-25 None L
11-Apr Home Phoenix 22-56 The Suns are also tanking and have lost 12 straight. W
12-Apr Away LAC 47-31 The Clippers may be resting their starters. L

MIN

Date Location Opponent Opp Record Opponent Factors Projected W/L
Date Location Opponent Opp Record Opponent Factors Projected W/L
6-Apr Away Portland 38-40 The Blazers don't have a healthy center. They may still be fighting for a playoff spot. W
7-Apr Away Utah 48-30 None L
9-Apr Away LAL 22-55 The Lakers have more reason to lose than anyone due to their pick conveyance to Philadelphia. W
11-Apr Home Oklahoma City 44-33 The Thunder could possibly rest starters if their position is set in the standings. L
12-Apr Away Houston 52-25 The Rockets may be resting their starters. L

DAL

Date Location Opponent Opp Record Opponent Factors Projected W/L
Date Location Opponent Opp Record Opponent Factors Projected W/L
5-Apr Away LAC 47-31 None L
7-Apr Home San Antonio 60-17 The Spurs could rest starters for the playoffs. L
9-Apr Away Phoenix 22-56 The Suns are also tanking and have lost 12 straight. W
11-Apr Home Denver 37-40 The Nuggets may still be fighting for a playoff spot. L
12-Apr Away Memphis 42-36 The Grizzlies may be resting starters in their position is set in the standings. L

NOP

Date Location Opponent Opp Record Opponent Factors Projected W/L
Date Location Opponent Opp Record Opponent Factors Projected W/L
7-Apr Away Denver 37-40 Denver is still fighting for a playoff spot. L
8-Apr Away Golden State 64-14 None L
11-Apr Away LAL 22-55 The Lakers have more reason to lose than anyone due to their pick conveyance to Philadelphia. W
12-Apr Away Portland 38-40 The Blazers don't have a healthy center. They may still be fighting for a playoff spot. W

DET

Date Location Opponent Opp Record Opponent Factors Projected W/L
Date Location Opponent Opp Record Opponent Factors Projected W/L
5-Apr Home Toronto 47-31 None L
7-Apr Away Houston 52-25 None L
9-Apr Away Memphis 42-36 None L
10-Apr Home Washington 47-31 None L
12-Apr Away Orlando 27-51 The Magic are tanking as well. W

Theoretically, each team should win at least one of their remaining games as every single one of the tankers faces at least one opponent worse than them, who is also trying to lose. With those projected wins and losses the final standings should look something like:

Projected Lottery

Position Team Record
Position Team Record
6 Knicks 31-48
T-7 Kings 33-49
T-7 T-Wolves 33-49
T-7 Mavericks 33-49
10 Pelicans 35-47
11 Pistons 36-46

What this really tells us, more than what will actually happen, is that the Kings need to lose some games and lose them quickly. With only four contests remaining, and while in the early stages of a rebuild, Sacramento must put itself in the best position possible come June.