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  • PAUL KITAGAKI JR. / pkitagaki@sacbee.com

    Kashir Ali, 19, of Sacramento waits for the revealing of the Kings' pick during a draft lottery party at Buffalo Wild Wings in Natomas. With the franchise in ownership transition, no officials from the Kings' basketball operations attended the festivities.

  • Jason DeCrow / Associated Press

    Nick Gilbert, 16, son of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert,brought home the No. 1 pick for the second time in the last three years.

  • Jason DeCrow / Associated Press

    Coach Keith Smart represented the Kings at the draft lottery in New York.

Kings' lottery luck remains elusive

Published: Wednesday, May. 22, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Wednesday, May. 22, 2013 - 7:33 pm

There had been so much goodwill surrounding the Kings leading up to the NBA draft lottery Tuesday.

The fact the Kings were not the Seattle SuperSonics was testament to that.

But there wasn't enough good luck to cap the Kings' fairy tale with the best possible draft scenario. They ended up with the seventh pick, one spot below where they were slotted to select based on their record this past season.

The Kings had only a 6.3 percent chance of landing the first pick based on having the sixth-worst record. The worst-case scenario had them picking ninth.

The Cleveland Cavaliers won the first pick for the second time in three seasons. The Orlando Magic, which had the worst record, will pick second, and the Washington Wizards will select third for the second consecutive year.

With the Kings still in ownership transition, coach Keith Smart represented the team at the lottery. Basketball president Geoff Petrie watched the proceedings on television.

"I got to watch it in my living room," Petrie said. "History repeating itself in respects."

The Kings have been in the lottery the last seven years and never have moved into the top three picks.

"It is what it is," Petrie said. "What are you going to do? At least now you know where you are for sure and can move forward from there. So we'll see."

The signs that change is coming to the organization was evident at this year's lottery party at Buffalo Wild Wings in Natomas near Sleep Train Arena. No officials from the Kings' basketball operations attended.

There were cardboard cutouts of Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins and representatives selling season tickets, and the team's flagship radio station, KHTK (1140), broadcasted from the restaurant.

Petrie continues to plan as if he will make the decision on whom the Kings will choose on June 27 while waiting for new majority owner Vivek Ranadive to take control once the sale is finalized.

Petrie said the team is scheduling pre-draft workouts, but they likely would not happen until after next week's group pre-draft workout in Minnesota.

Last season, five of the top prospects refused to work out for the Kings. New ownership and stability might cause more players to be willing to embrace being a King.

Regardless of who the selection is or who makes the final decision, the new ownership group could overhaul the roster, coaching staff and front office.

The Kings also own the sixth pick in the second round, 36th overall.

Players who could be available at No. 7 include point guards Trey Burke and Michael Carter-Williams and small forward Shabazz Muhammad.

After projected top pick Nerlens Noel, Alex Len is viewed as the second-best center.

Petrie noted that the draft has its limitations.

"The idea that – except in certain cases that the draft is the stairway to success – except when you get that exceptional guy, (the draft) isn't necessarily the most important thing," he said. "You can get good players, but the really special ones, they don't come around very often."

PREDICTING THE LOTTERY PICKS

The Bee's Jason Jones forecasts the first 14 picks in the June 27 NBA draft:

No. Team, Pick, position, school _Comment

1. Cavaliers, Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky – Plenty of bigs mean no need to rush back from knee injury.

2. Magic, Ben McLemore, G, Kansas – Orlando needs a lot of help and could use the scoring immediately.

3. Wizards, Otto Porter, F, Georgetown – Local college star is do-it-all small forward to go with young nucleus.

4. Bobcats, Victor Oladipo, G, Indiana – Has the makings of an elite defender and is still improving on offense.

5. Suns, Anthony Bennett, F, UNLV – Not as tall as an ideal power forward but would fill a need.

6. Pelicans, Alex Len, C, Maryland – New Orleans fortifies its frontcourt with skilled big man who can score.

7. Kings , Michael Carter-Williams, G, Syracuse – Big point guard (6-6) with savvy that would complement current roster.

8. Pistons, Shabazz Muhammad, F, UCLA – Not everyone likes his game, but Detroit needs help at small forward.

9. T-wolves, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, G, Georgia – It's time to address the hole at shooting guard.

10. Blazers, Cody Zeller, C, Indiana – Was projected higher to start the season; still a big talent.

11. 76ers, Mason Plumlee, C, Duke – Won't make fans forget failed Andrew Bynum trade, but he is a center.

12. Thunder, Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh – No help immediately, but OKC will need scoring from big in the future.

13. Mavericks, Trey Burke, G, Michigan – Search for long-term answer at point guard ends if Burke slips this far.

14. Jazz C.J. McCollum, G, Lehigh Adds a backcourt scoring threat to go with young post players.

Follow The Bee's Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Jason Jones



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