Note: This story will be updated with news, notes and results of Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery.
The day of the NBA Draft Lottery is traditionally one of the biggest days on the Sacramento sports calendar.
The league fires up the old ping-pong ball machine to determine which of the year’s biggest losers will be the biggest winners on draft night. The Kings haven’t been awarded the No. 1 pick since 1989, but they’ll try their luck again when the lottery is held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday on ESPN prior to Game 2 of the Western Conference finals.
The Kings will likely receive the No. 9 or No. 10 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft on July 29, but they have a 4.5% chance of getting the No. 1 pick and a 20.3% chance of landing in the top four. The most prized prospect in this year’s draft will be Cade Cunningham, a 6-foot-7, 220-pound point guard who averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists as a freshman at Oklahoma State.
Can the Kings defy the odds to secure a top pick? We’ll update this story with news, notes, analysis and results of the draft lottery, so check back throughout the day for more.
Who’s No. 1?
The Houston Rockets, Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic enter the lottery with virtually identical odds with a 14% chance of landing the No. 1 pick, a 13.4% chance at No. 2, a 12.7% chance at No. 3 and an 11.9% chance at No. 4.
The Oklahoma City Thunder and Cleveland Cavaliers enter with an 11.5% chance at No. 1, an 11.4% chance at No. 2, an 11.2% chance at No. 3 and an 11% chance at No. 4. The Minnesota Timberwolves have a 9% chance at the No. 1 pick with a 37.2% chance of landing in the top four. The Toronto Raptors are next with a 7.5% chance at No. 1 and a 31.9% chance at the top four.
Odds for Kings
The Kings tied the Chicago Bulls and New Orleans Pelicans for the eighth-worst record in the league. The Bulls won a tiebreaker for the No. 8 pre-lottery draft position with the Kings at No. 9 and the Pelicans at No. 10.
The tiebreaker benefits the Bulls and Kings over the Pelicans if none of them move up in the lottery. However, the three teams still share identical odds of vaulting into the top four with a 4.5% chance at No. 1, a 4.8% chance at No. 2, a 5.2% chance at No. 3 and a 5.7% chance at No. 4. The Kings are far more likely to end up at No. 9 (46.4%) or No. 10 (29.4%).
Jumping into the top four could make this a truly memorable draft in Oklahoma City, where Thunder general manager Sam Presti has stockpiled 38 draft picks over the next seven years.
Oklahoma City has three first-round picks and three second-round picks this year. The Thunder has its own pick (with a 45.1% chance of landing in the top four) as well as Boston’s pick at No. 16 and Miami’s pick at No. 18. Don’t be surprised if Presti packages some of these picks in a trade.
The Rockets also have three first-round picks this year. The Magic, Golden State Warriors and New York Knicks each have two first-round picks.
As we first reported Sunday, Kings general manager Monte McNair will represent Sacramento in the draft lottery. Now we know who will represent each of the other 13 teams in the lottery.
The list of announced or reported representatives includes Marc Eversley (Bulls), Koby Altman (Cavaliers), Miles Bridges (Hornets), Jeff Weltman (Magic), Nancy Leonard (Pacers), Swin Cash (Pelicans), Ben Wallace (Pistons),Fred Van Vleet (Raptors), Hakeem Olajuwon (Rockets), Peter J. Holt (Spurs), Nazr Mohammed (Thunder), Anthony Edwards (Timberwolves) and Rick Welts (Warriors).
USC center Evan Mobley is widely projected as the No. 2 pick in the draft following an impressive freshman campaign at USC.
The 20-year-old 7-footer was named Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year in the Pac-12 Conference after averaging 16.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.9 blocks in 33 games for the Trojans. Mobley discussed his game on ESPN’s NBA Countdown before the lottery began.
“I feel like I’m a big who is very versatile, can space the floor, spread the floor,” Mobley said. “I’m very agile. Whenever a big is bigger than me, I can use my speed and agility to go around him, and also my outside range. I just feel like I’m a versatile big.”
Live lottery results
14. Golden State Warriors
13. Indiana Pacers
12. San Antonio Spurs
11. Charlotte Hornets
10. New Orleans Pelicans
9. Sacramento Kings
8. Orlando Magic
7. Golden State Warriors
6. Oklahoma City Thunder
5. Orlando Magic
4. Toronto Raptors
3. Cleveland Cavaliers
2. Houston Rockets
1. Detroit Pistons
Kings stay at No. 9
The Kings came away with the No. 9 pick, which was the most likely outcome all along. Cunningham, Mobley, Jalen Green, Jalen Suggs, Jonathan Kuminga and Scottie Barnes are widely regarded as the top six players in the draft at this point, but there is little consensus after that.
Players who could be available to the Kings at No. 9 include Tennessee guard Keon Johnson, Baylor guard Davion Mitchell, UConn guard James Bouknight, Arkansas guard Moses Moody, Michigan forward Franz Wagner, Gonzaga forward Corey Kispert, Duke forward Jalen Johnson, Austrailian point guard Josh Giddey and Turkish center Alperen Sengun.
The Kings have announced plans for an NBA Draft watch party July 29 at Golden 1 Center. Fans can sign up here for free tickets. to watch the draft unfold live on the big screen inside the arena.