Luck was going to be hard to come by for the Sacramento Kings at the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery. The franchise went into the draw with just a 6.2% chance to jump into the top four, and minuscule odds of 1.3% to win the No. 1 overall pick.
The Kings stayed put and will have the 12th selection. Unfortunately for them, the results of the previous No. 12 picks are among the worst of the lottery slots. Since 1985, the 12th picks have struggled to make their mark in the NBA.
Players who are selected No. 12 have averaged the least amount of career games, points and minutes per game, as well as the third-worst win shares per 48 minutes, per Basketball Reference. But, the good news is that some of the 12th picks in recent years have gone on to solid NBA careers.
The 2020 NBA Draft is short on high-end talent but could provide some nice value later in the lottery. Players like Isaac Okoro, Saddiq Bey, Aaron Nesmith, and Patrick Williams could be available when Sacramento makes its selection, and each has the potential to grow into long-time NBA players.
Here is a look back at No. 12 picks over the past 10 NBA Drafts.
2010: Memphis Grizzlies select SG Xavier Henry
Henry averaged 5.7 points over five seasons before washing out of the league following a short stint with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2014-15. His -1.7 win shares ranked 50th out of the 60 draft picks that year.
Notable players picked after Henry: Eric Bledsoe, Avery Bradley, Patrick Patterson.
2011: Utah Jazz select SG Alec Burks
The Jazz got good value with the Burks selection. He averaged 9.6 points per game over eight seasons in Utah and is still contributing in the NBA nine years later. Burks’ 2.5 VORP is 20th best from the draft class.
Notable players picked after Burks: Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris
2012: Houston Rockets select SG Jeremy Lamb
Another shooting guard! Lamb never played a game for the Rockets. He was shipped to the Oklahoma City Thunder as part of the James Harden deal. Lamb grew into a reserve role with OKC and has carved out a nice NBA career over his eight seasons. He started 42 games for the Indiana Pacers in 2019-20.
Notable players picked after Lamb: Evan Fournier
2013: Oklahoma City Thunder select C Steven Adams
Arguably the best 12th pick over the last 10 years, Adams has been an integral part of the Thunder for years. The 26-year-old has averaged 9.8 points and 7.6 rebounds over his seven-year career with OKC. Adams has the seventh-best VORP from the class of 2013.
Notable players picked after Adams: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kelly Olynyk
2014: Orlando Magic select SF/PF Dario Saric
Saric was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers on draft night. The Croatian forward spent two years in Europe after being selected before making the jump to the NBA for the 2016-17 season. Saric is averaging 12.2 points and 6.2 rebounds since entering the league while shooting 35.2% from beyond the 3-point line.
Notable players picked after Saric: T.J. Warren, Zach LaVine.
2015: Jazz select PF Trey Lyles
Lyles started 33 games for the Jazz in his rookie season, but couldn’t find his footing with the team. He was traded in 2017 to the Denver Nuggets in the Donovan Mitchell deal. Lyles spent two years in Denver before signing with the San Antonio Spurs prior to the 2019-20 season. Lyles averaged a career-high in minutes with the Spurs.
Notable players picked after Lyles: Devin Booker, Kelly Oubre Jr.
2016: Jazz select SF Taurean Prince
Prince was dealt to the Atlanta Hawks prior to the 2016-17 season and has turned into an impactful player during his short time in the league. He put 11.4 points, and 3.8 boards per game over his first three seasons with the Hawks. Although Prince has been solid on the offensive end, his defensive rating has been amongst the worst on his team each year in the league.
Notable players picked after Prince: Caris LeVert, Pascal Siakam
2017: Detroit Pistons select G Luke Kennard
Kennard took a leap in third NBA season, averaging a career-high in points, minutes, and assists for the Pistons in 2019-20. He shoots better than 40% from deep. Kennard’s 1.2 WS is 16th best among 2017 draftees.
Notable players picked after Kennard: Mitchell, Bam Adebayo
2018: L.A. Clippers select SF Miles Bridges
Bridges was sent to the Charlotte Hornets on draft night for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. His role increased with the Hornets this past season. Bridges started 64 games, averaging just over 30 minutes per contest, and putting up 13.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. He should be in the league for a long time to come as he continues his development.
Notable players picked after Bridges: Michael Porter Jr.
2019: Hornets select PF P.J. Washington
Washington had a strong rookie campaign in Charlotte. He started 57 games, averaging 12.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, and shot 37.4% from the beyond-the-arc. Washington has a 0.2 WS on a bad Hornets team, which is eighth-best from last year’s draft picks.
Notable players picked after Washington: Brandon Clarke, Matisse Thybulle.
Given the recent history, the Kings should be able to get a nice piece at No. 12. The new general manager and members of the front office will have plenty of time before the 2020 NBA Draft commences, so nailing this pick should be a priority. Sacramento can add a meaningful contributor who will be cost-controlled for the foreseeable future. The Kings need wing defenders, and there are few prospects who fit the bill that should be available with the 12th pick. Every player other than Henry has had or should have a long NBA career.