Kings' 2017 NBA Draft Lottery scenarios: Best case, worst case, most likely

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Kings' 2017 NBA Draft Lottery scenarios: Best case, worst case, most likely

Programming note: Watch the Kings NBA Draft Lottery show with Jim Kozimor and Jon Wilson tonight at 5pm, streaming live right here.

The anticipation is excruciating. Hope springs eternal. Reality is brutal. It’s Draft Lottery night 2017.

It’s complicated. That is the only way to describe the Sacramento Kings 2017 NBA Lottery that will unfold on Tuesday evening. Usually the night consists of nothing more than a bunch of ping pong balls in a hopper and a wall of numerical possibilities. Sacramento can only dream of that scenario.

The Kings cannot receive the top overall selection. Through a combination of two possible picks, they can land at two, three, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve and thirteen. They can also lose both of their selections in this year’s draft and come away with nothing, but the odds of that are almost statistically impossible.

Here is a quick primer on the situation. For those who do not understand the lottery process, there are 14 ping pong balls, numbered 1-14 that are put into a hopper. Four balls are drawn at a time, creating one of 1,001 possibilities. One of those possibilities is removed from the equation, leaving 1000 potential outcomes. The 14 teams that missed the playoffs are given a specific number of those 1000 possibilities, depending on their record for the 2016-17 season.

The worst team in the league, the Brooklyn Nets in this case (although their pick is owed to the Boston Celtics), have 250 of the potential 1000 combinations. The Miami Heat, who finished the season 41-41 and barely missed the playoffs have just five combinations in play.

Only the top three selections are drawn and the remainder of the draft goes in order according to record. The worst case scenario for the Nets (besides the one that has already played out with the Celtics owning their pick), is that they fall from the top spot to the fourth overall selection.

It’s a lot more confusing when it comes to Sacramento. They currently own the eighth (28 total numerical combinations) and tenth (11 numerical combination) most combinations in the lottery, but it’s still more complex than that.

The eighth overall selection has a 2.8 percent chance of landing No. 1 overall, a 3.3 percent chance of landing No. 2 and a 3.9 percent chance of landing the third overall pick. Unfortunately for Sacramento, the Philadelphia 76ers, who currently sit in the fourth position in the lottery (119 numerical combinations), have the right to swap picks with the Kings from a trade consummated in 2015.

If the Kings land the top overall selection, the Sixers will take the pick and their selection (2, 3, 5, 6 or 7) goes directly to Sacramento. If Philly lands a better pick than Sacramento, the pick swap goes unused and is extinguished moving forward.

In addition to the 76ers quagmire, there is an extremely small chance that three teams ranked lower than Sacramento (Dallas, Sacramento (yes, their second first round selection can hurt them), Charlotte, Detroit, Denver and Miami) move ahead of them in the draft lottery. In this scenario, the Kings would fall to the 11th overall selection and their pick would go to the Chicago Bulls as part of the nightmare J.J. Hickson trade from 2011. If this worst case scenario does not play out, the Bulls get the Kings second round selection (38th overall).

There are also restrictions on the tenth overall spot that Sacramento currently occupies. The Kings received a 2017 top three protected selection from the New Orleans Pelicans as part of the DeMarcus Cousins trade. If the Pelicans somehow land a top three pick, they retain the selection and the Kings receive a Top 1 protected pick from New Orleans in either 2018, 2019 or 2020.

New Orleans selection has a 1.1 percent chance of landing the top spot, a 1.3 percent opportunity of landing No. 2 and a 1.6 percent shot at No. 3. There is an 87 percent chance that the Pelicans remain at No. 10. There is also an 8.9 percent chance they drop to 11 and a .2 percent chance of they fall to 12 and less than a .1 percent chance they select at the 13th overall spot.

Best Case Scenario

In a dream world, the 76ers land the top overall pick, Sacramento nabs the second overall selection and the Pelicans pick stays at No. 10. Kings draft at No. 2 and No. 10 and are able to add two quality players.

A similar scenario, but one that leaves the Kings wondering “what if,” Sacramento lands the top pick, Philly lands the second overall selection (swaps) and the Pelicans stay at 10. This has the same outcome as scenario one, but with a little bit of egg on the Kings’ face.

Worst Case Scenario

Both picks go away. The odds of it happening are miniscule, but the possibility remains that three teams move above the Kings, including the Pelicans. In this horrific scenario the Kings lose both their own pick (to Chicago) and the Pelicans pick (because it’s top 3 protected).

There are plenty of other unfortunate scenarios for the Kings. They could land a top three spot and Philly could land at No. 7 and swap. Any combination of the Pelicans moving into the top three is bad, although the Kings would likely get New Orleans pick in 2018.

Most Likely Scenario

The odds are in favor of Sacramento retaining their own pick which will likely fall at eight or nine. It is also very likely (96 percent chance) that New Orleans will fail to move up and remain at No. 10. In this scenario, the Kings drafty at 8/9 and 10 and avoid a rough night.  
 

As draft prep heats up, Kings front office getting respect around NBA

As draft prep heats up, Kings front office getting respect around NBA

It’s all about relationships. The NBA game is not just about who you are, but who you know. The Sacramento Kings have struggled with this issue over the past five or six seasons, but they appear to be turning the corner.

The first major addition was Vlade Divac, a former player known for his ability to bring a room together. But the Kings needed more pieces to the puzzle.

Last summer they added Ken Catanella as an assistant general manager to help support Divac and his growing team. Veteran NBA executive Scott Perry joined the fray following the 2016-17 season to help pull it all together.

Divac, flanked by Perry and Catanella, as well as holdovers Mike Bratz and Peja Stojakovic and the rest of the basketball operations staff, made their way to Chicago for the NBA’s annual Draft Combine for an all hands on deck approach. In past years, the Kings have had trouble getting consideration from elite prospects, let alone an interview with a top tier player. That all seems to be changing.

Not only did Markelle Fultz, the player most believe will go with the top overall pick, sit down with the Kings brass, Sacramento got the first crack at an interview with the guard from Washington. Perry, the team’s new executive vice president of basketball operations has ties to the Fultz camp, which is usually the way this all works.

According to a source inside of Fultz’ camp, the 19-year-old point guard would have no problems joining the Sacramento Kings if that’s how the cards fall. Fultz is a gym rat. His primary focus as a young man is basketball and Sacramento is an environment that allows a player to mature into his roll without the bright lights of the big city.  

“I think Sacramento is a good place to grow,” the source said.

Josh Jackson, another top five candidate out of Kansas, is represented by former All-Star and World Champion, B.J. Armstrong. Armstrong, a former teammate of Divac, isn’t counting out the Kings.

“Vlade and Scott Perry, they are as sharp as anybody in this league,” Armstrong told NBC Sports California. “They’re going to be fine.”

Armstrong spent the 1997-98 season as a member of the Charlotte Hornets with Divac and considers him, “One of the best teammates I’ve ever had.”

As for Perry, Armstrong said, “his track record of success speaks for itself.” Both Detroit natives, Armstrong said that he and Perry have known each other for years.

If the Kings found themselves in the top five, would Armstrong shy away from bringing Jackson to Sacramento for a visit?

“If other people see problems, we see enormous opportunity,” Armstrong told NBC Sports California about Sacramento.

Armstrong was clear - you come in the league as a player, but it is the prospects who strive to become professionals that succeed. Professionals can succeed anywhere.

“If you love to compete, there’s nothing to run away from,” Armstrong said.

Fultz will listen. So will Jackson. But that’s not where it ends.

“We have as a company (CAA), four or five guys that are going in the top 20,” agent Aaron Mintz told NBC Sports California. “They will all be going to Sacramento and we are very hopeful that the Kings will take one if not two of them.”

CAA represents Frank Ntilikina, John Collins, Donovan Mitchell and Luke Kennard, as well as plenty of others in this year’s draft.

“When you have good people who work hard and are passionate and honest, good things usually happen,” Mintz said of the Kings.

Like Armstrong, Mintz has known Perry for years. They have a relationship that is built on decades of trust. The fact that Perry is now with the Kings doesn't change that, either during the draft or when free agency opens on July 1.

“It’s not just the draft, even in free agency this is an organization our clients are going to look at,” Mintz said. “It’s a credit to Vlade, Scott and Ken.”

Sacramento offers a wide open opportunity at most positions. They have a young core in Buddy Hield, Skal Labissiere, Malachi Richardson, Georgios Papagiannis and Willie Cauley-Stein, but the point guard and small forward spots are there for the taking.

Kentucky’s De'Aaron Fox, another player expected to go in the top of the lottery, met with Sacramento over the weekend. He probably won’t make it to picks 8 or 10 where the Kings are projected to select, but even as a 19-year-old college kid, he can see the opportunity.

“They just feel like if they’re able to get a point guard, somebody who can run the team, they feel like they could do something special,” Fox told reporters after meeting with the Kings. “But like I said, that division is really hard. You’re going to have to have a point guard that’s ready to play every night to do something in that division.”

NBC Sports California has learned that there is a very good chance that Fox, Kennard, T.J. Leaf, Bam Adebayo, Dennis Smith and Hamadou Diallo will all visit Sacramento for pre-draft workouts. Ntilikina is still playing in the playoffs with his European team, leaving his draft workout status in flux.

The Kings plan to be aggressive over the next few weeks leading up to the draft. They will know more about where they stand Tuesday night following the NBA Draft Lottery. If the ping pong balls fall their way, the list of potential visitors to Sacrament is bound to expand.

Source: Rudy Gay will opt out of his contract with Kings

Source: Rudy Gay will opt out of his contract with Kings

SACRAMENTO -- The decision is in.

Rudy Gay will opt out of the final year of his $14.2 million contract and become an unrestricted free agent, NBC Sports California has learned.

Gay, 30, informed the Kings prior to training camp in September that he intended to forgo his final year of his contract in Sacramento, but a catastrophic Achilles tendon injury in January put that decision in question. He is ahead of schedule in his recovery and hopes to be cleared to participate in training camp in September.

The 11-year NBA veteran averaged 18.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.7 assist in 30 games for Sacramento this season before the injury.

Gay joined the Kings as part of a seven-player swap with the Toronto Raptors in December of 2013. He signed a three-year extension the following November with a player option for the final year. 

He has until June 10 to officially inform the Kings of his decision.

Marc Spears of The Undefeated was first with the news.