The Sacramento Kings made the biggest jump of any lottery team yesterday, moving all the way from 7 to 2. It marked the first time in the modern lottery era that the Kings have jumped to the top 3, and it could not have come at a better time.
The Kings are a team in search of a franchise altering talent, and thanks to the lucky bounces of four ping pong balls, they now have their best opportunity in recent memory to get one. Whether it’s Deandre Ayton, Luka Doncic or someone else, the Kings will get their shot at getting someone who can potentially turn this franchise around, and add on to a young core that already showed some promise.
The Kings won’t get this opportunity again for a while. Next season, the Kings won’t even own a first round draft pick. The time to win is now and while the Kings could have found a good, potentially great player if they had stuck around at 7, jumping up to 2 brings a lot more options and with it, expectations.
This is the most important draft pick in Sacramento Kings history. Whomever the Kings draft will instantly be anointed the new face of the franchise, fair or not, with the hopes and expectations of a fanbase that has been through so much misery over the last decade plus. That’s a lot to pin on a 19 or 20 year old, but it comes with the territory. For Vlade Divac and co. there’s even more pressure to make sure to pick the right guy. This is not a pick that can be hand-waved away if it doesn’t work out. Careers will be made or broken because of this pick, and it will alter the destiny of this entire franchise.
Years from now we could be talking about yesterday as the day the Kings finally got that lucky break and snagged their homegrown star. Or we could be commiserating about yet another failure in a long line of failures. It’s time to change the narrative, and it all comes down to this pick.