Tonight marked the 22nd time the Sacramento Kings have been in the NBA Draft Lottery but this was the first time in the modern lottery system that the Kings actually managed to jump. Sacramento finished with the 5th and 10th picks, also making it the first time in their history that they ended up with two top-10 picks.
Sacramento actually finished with the 3rd pick but had to swap it because of the infamous “Pick Swap” trade of 2015. Only having to give up two spots doesn’t look nearly as bad as giving up the 1st overall pick. The 76ers ended up with the 3rd pick while the L.A. Lakers finished 2nd and the Boston Celtics finished 1st (talk about a bad pick swap as Brooklyn gets Boston’s non-lottery pick). The last time the Kings had the 5th pick, they ended up with Thomas Robinson over Damian Lillard. DeMarcus Cousins was also a 5th pick.
Let’s also take a moment here and appreciate the fact that the infamous J.J. Hickson trade is now over without the Kings having to commit a first round pick. The Kings conveyed this pick back in 2011 to Cleveland, but gave it protections that lasted for five seasons. The Kings sucked just enough that they managed to fulfill those protections every single year. That takes a special kind of commitment to terribleness and it’s a reminder that you should always use protection (when dealing draft picks).
Sacramento’s jump means the Kings have a really good shot at getting a top prospect that they otherwise might have had to trade for. A player like De’Aaron Fox or Jayson Tatum is now a legitimate option whereas before they might not have lasted to 8. There also is a lot more value now for the Kings to potentially package their picks to move up if they really like someone in the top three.
Draft workouts are expected to begin shortly, and unlike recent years the Kings should expect to see some top names come in for those workouts. The Kings are desperate for help at both PG and SF and this draft is particularly slanted towards those type of prospects near the top. The Kings also have the 34th pick so should be able to come away with some help and depth at those positions.
The 2017 NBA Draft will be held on June 22nd, 2017.