While the Golden State Warriors spent Tuesday preparing for their Western Conference Finals matchup against the Dallas Mavericks, the Sacramento Kings learned when they would be picking their next potential star to compete with their in-state rivals.
After a favorable bounce of the ping pong balls at the NBA Draft Lottery Tuesday night, Sacramento jumped up to the No. 4 pick in this year’s draft. It is the highest draft position the Kings have had since 2018.
As for Los Angeles’ two teams – the Lakers and Clippers – Tuesday night’s lottery was a reminder of what could have been. Both of those teams will be without first round picks as part of big trades in 2019.
The top pick in the draft was awarded to the Orlando Magic, while the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets will select second and third, respectively.
The NBA Draft will be held on June 23.
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Lucky Bounce Gives Kings Fourth Pick
Sacramento entered the lottery with a 32% chance at winning a top four pick. After Lady Luck proved to be on their side, the Kings have their highest draft pick since selecting Marvin Bagley at No. 2 overall in 2018.
With Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, Auburn’s Jabari Smith, and Duke’s Paolo Banchero likely to be the top three selections, the Kings have an opportunity to an elite winger. Possible candidates for the selection include Purdue’s Jaden Ivey, Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe, and Iowa’s Keegan Murray.
Ivey, a second-team All-American guard, could be a great compliment to Sacramento guard De’Aaron Fox. Ivey averaged 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists for the Boilermakers.
Sharpe never played a minute with the Wildcats after graduating high school early to join the program in January. Viewed as the No. 1 recruit in the 2022, Sharpe will instead head to the NBA.
Murray had a dominant season with the Hawkeyes, averaging 23.5 points and 8.7 rebounds. He projects as an elite 3-and-D forward, allowing Domantas Sabonis to play more in the post.
Last year, the Kings selected Baylor’s Davion Mitchell. He averaged 11.5 points and 4.2 assists per game, starting 19 contests.
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Lakers sitting out first round
The Lakers found themselves spectators for the lottery with their pick headed to New Orleans as part of the Anthony Davis trade in 2019.
The Lakers’ pick became unprotected after their draft position was between No. 8 and 30 last year (No. 22 overall). It’s a huge blow for a squad that could have used an influx of talent.
The ramifications of the trade with New Orleans are not done after this season. The Pelicans also swap picks with the Lakers in 2023, and will also receive L.A.’s first round pick in either 2024 or 2025, whichever New Orleans chooses.
While the Lakers did win the NBA title in 2020 with Anthony Davis, there are plenty of fans that will spend the next few seasons watching the draft and wondering if the trade was worthwhile.
Clippers Send Pick to OKC
The Lakers aren’t the only Los Angeles team beginning to feel the draft ramifications for a big trade.
The Clippers saw their lottery pick – No. (pick) overall – sent to the Oklahoma City Thunder as part of 2019’s Paul George trade. It’s the first of three first rounders (2022, 24 and 26) being conveyed to the Thunder. All those picks are unprotected. Oklahoma City can also swap picks with the Clippers in 2023 and 2025.
Unless a healthy Kawhi Leonard can return with George next season and lead the Clippers to a deep playoff run, that trade has the potential to be an absolute disaster for the team for the next five seasons.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke