The Kings have had some good recent fortune in the NBA draft lottery. They’ve moved up in each of each of the last two years.
There was no such luck last month. Despite not making the playoffs for the 13th consecutive season, Sacramento didn’t have a lottery pick this year.
The Kings’ pick goes to the Boston Celtics via the Philadelphia 76ers, who would have kept it, had it been No. 1. The 76ers had rights to the selection as part of a July 2015 trade in which the Kings sent Nik Stauskas, Jason Thompson and Carl Landry to Philadelphia in an attempt to clear salary cap space. The 76ers later traded the pick to Boston, but it was protected if it was No. 1.
The Pelicans will have the No. 1 pick. New Orleans, which finished 33-49, had a 6 percent chance of winning the lottery, but was one of three teams to move into the top four.
New York, Cleveland and Phoenix each had the best odds at 14 percent, while Charlotte, Miami and the Kings’ pick were at 1 percent.
Barring a trade, the Kings go into Thursday’s 2019 NBA draft with three second-round picks: 40, 47 and 60, the last selection.
Sacramento had the final pick eight years ago, using it to select Washington guard Isaiah Thomas. In three seasons with the Kings, he averaged 15.3 points. He was one of three players on the team to average more that 20 points in 2013-14.
Thomas is one of a few notable second-round picks over the last decade. Here’s a look at five of the top second-round picks, in alphabetical order:
Team: Milwaukee Bucks
Skinny: While his numbers weren’t eye-popping (10.2 points, 4.2 assists), the guard out of Virginia started 28 games for the Bucks and became the first second-round selection in this draft era to earn Rookie of the Year honors, winning by a comfortable margin over Philadelphia 76ers forward Dario Saric.
Team: Golden State Warriors
Skinny: The former Michigan State forward has had a decorated NBA career. A three-time All-Star, Green has also made two All-NBA teams (second team in 2016, third team in ’17) and was the Defensive Player of the Year in 2017. He also helped the Warriors win three championships in the last five seasons.
Team: Denver Nuggets
Skinny: A triple-double threat every night, Jokic helped the Nuggets to the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference while making the All-Star Game for the first time this season. The Serbian’s 7.3 assists-per-game average in 2018-19 was by far the most for a center and put him at ninth overall, just behind Kings guard De’Aaron Fox.
Team: Detroit Pistons
Skinny: After spending his rookie season with the Pistons, Middleton was traded to Milwaukee. In six seasons with the Bucks, the forward from Texas A&M has averaged 16.3 points while shooting 39 percent from 3-point range. This season, Middleton was named to his first All-Star team while helping the team reach the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2001.
Drafted: 60th (last overall pick)
Skinny: The last man picked in any NFL draft is often referred to as Mr. Irrelevant. That name can’t be used to describe Thomas. The guard out of Washington has been slowed by injuries recently, but he made the NBA’s All-Rookie second team with the Kings and later became a two-time All-Star and second-team All-NBA selection with the Boston Celtics. When speaking about the best No. 60 picks in NBA history, only Thomas, Michael Cooper in 1978 and the late Drazen Petrovic in 1986 should be in the conversation.