How are the Kings going to botch the draft this year?
The Sacramento Kings have been stuck at the bottom of the Western Conference for 12 years, finishing no better than 10th from 2006-2018. How is that possible in a league that’s designed to go in cycles?
Despite having a top-ten pick every year since 2008, the Kings have failed to turn their draft capital into anything remotely resembling a playoff team.
Here a just a few of the swings-and-misses:
In 2012, they picked Thomas Robinson at #5 while Damian Lillard, Harrison Barnes, and Andre Drummond were still available. In 2013, they went with Ben McLemore at #6 instead of CJ McCollum or Steven Adams. A year later, it was Nik Stauskus at #8 over Dario Saric, Zach Lavine, and TJ Warren.
Almost every year, a bunch of teams look foolish for not picking certain players. In just the last three years, 12 teams passed on Devin Booker (#13, 2015) and Donovan Mitchell (#13, 2017) and about 11 of them regret it. But no team has failed quite so spectacularly as the Kings.
This year, Sacramento has the #2 pick, the highest since they had the #1 pick in 1989. (Side note: they picked Pervis Ellison in ‘89, who played just 34 games before being traded; you can’t pin that on current GM Vlade Divac, but still.)
Unsurprisingly, while you can wager on who the Suns will take at #1 (Arizona ‘s Deandre Ayton is the current favorite). These guys cover a ton of sports to bet on and according to them, it looks like no sportsbooks are taking bets on who the Kings will take at #2.
Why not? Probably because it’s really unpredictable, partly because #2 prospect Luka Doncic doesn’t want to play for Sacramento and partly because the Kings have a long history of getting cray-cray on draft day.
Looking at the Kings’ current roster, it should be easy to narrow down the list of who they’ll take at #2 to about six players: Ayton, Doncic, Marvin Bagley (Duke), Jaren Jackson (MSU), Michael Porter Jr (Missouri), and Mohammed Bamba (Texas).
After all, Sacramento took a promising point guard last year (De’Aaron Fox) and also have an improving Buddy Hield at two-guard. What they need is impact wings and bigs. Doncic is by far the best wing, and the group of bigs after Ayton is solid.
But betting on Sacramento to do the smart thing at the draft is like betting Dwight Howard to hit a clutch free-throw. It’s happened once or twice and it could happen again, but history says it won’t.