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The Sacramento Kings are due some NBA Draft Lottery luck

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The Kings haven’t caught a break.

NBA: NBA Draft Lottery Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Back in 1984, in order to prevent the clear tanking that had been taking place in recent years, the NBA Board of Governors voted to install a lottery-type draft selection to determine the order of draft positioning instead of simply reversing the order of the win/loss standings.

Sadly, the Kings have found themselves embroiled in the lottery odds discussion almost every season since that new rule was adopted. 32 years have passed since the change in policy and Sacramento has been directly affected by those changes 21 times. Taking it even further, outside of the very much missed 1999-2006 run, the Kings have been in the lottery for 21 of the 24 possible seasons.

One would think with over two decades of the chance to move back, stay put, or move up that the Kings would have a fair sprinkling of each throughout their history. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case.

Kings Lotto History

Season Record Projected Lotto Position Actual Lotto Position Pick Change
Season Record Projected Lotto Position Actual Lotto Position Pick Change
1985 31-51 4th 6th -2
1986 37-45 Not in lottery N/A N/A
1987 29-53 5th 6th -1
1988 24-58 N/A N/A N/A
1989 27-55 6th 1st 5
1990 23-59 6th 7th -1
1991 25-57 3rd 3rd 0
1992 29-53 6th 7th -1
1993 25-57 4th 7th -3
1994 28-54 8th 8th 0
1995 39-43 13th 13th 0
1996 39-43 Not in lottery N/A N/A
1997 34-48 11th 11th 0
1998 27-55 7th 7th 0
1999 27-23 Not in lottery N/A N/A
2000 44-38 Not in lottery N/A N/A
2001 55-27 Not in lottery N/A N/A
2002 61-21 Not in lottery N/A N/A
2003 59-23 Not in lottery N/A N/A
2004 55-27 Not in lottery N/A N/A
2005 50-32 Not in lottery N/A N/A
2006 44-38 Not in lottery N/A N/A
2007 33-49 10th 10th 0
2008 38-44 12th 12th 0
2009 17-65 1st 4th -3
2010 25-57 3rd 5th -2
2011 24-58 5th 7th -2
2012 22-44 5th 5th 0
2013 28-54 6th 6th 0
2014 28-54 7th 8th -1
2015 29-53 6th 6th 0
2016 33-49 8th 8th 0

Reading through the graphic, some things certainly jump out. First, in 21 long years of being involved in the lottery, the Kings have moved up exactly one time. In 1989 Sacramento jumped from the 6th spot all the way to 1st, selecting Pervis Ellison. Unfortunately, outside of that one lucky drawing, Sacramento hasn’t simply stayed neutral, but instead, they’ve moved back 9 of 21 possible years for a total loss of 16 draft positions.

In a more recent study, the Kings have been in the lottery for ten straight years. Six of those opportunities have seen them remain in their projected position, while in four of those years the ping pong balls saw us lose at least one position, including losing out on the first overall pick in 2009 (Blake Griffin) and sliding back to 4th, acquiring Tyreke Evans. After sliding back three positions in 2009, the Kings lost ground the following two years in a row, moving from 3rd to 5th in 2010 and from 5th to 7th in 2011, losing a total of seven draft spots in just three years.

To put it mildly, the Kings and their long-suffering fans are due some luck. We can’t win the lottery this year because of past foolish maneuvers, but even moving up and swapping back with Philadelphia would still be a win. The best case scenario is the 76ers gaining the first overall pick and Sacramento sliding just behind them with the second selection, and considering the lack of luck we’ve experienced over the past 32 years, that’s exactly what Kings fans deserve.

So what do you say basketball gods? Throw us a bone for once.