If the one-and-done rule didn’t exist, would Zion still be at Duke?
The Kings have a 1-percent chance of embarrassment and regret when the NBA Draft Lottery is held Tuesday in Chicago to determine which team will have the right to select Duke sensation Zion Williamson with the No. 1 pick.
The 14 teams that did not make the playoffs are eligible to participate in the lottery, but the Kings do not own their first-round pick this year. The Philadelphia 76ers will get the pick if it is No. 1. Otherwise, it will go to the Boston Celtics.
The Kings must convey the pick to complete a July 2015 trade that sent Nik Stauskas, Jason Thompson and Carl Landry to the 76ers in a cap-clearing move to build a winning team around former star DeMarcus Cousins. Philadelphia later traded the top-one protected pick to Boston for Markelle Fultz, who was the No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft.
This the first time the Kings have not had a first-round pick since 2003, when they traded their pick to the Memphis Grizzlies. They have had a top-10 pick each of the last 10 years.
Philadelphia also owns Sacramento’s second-round pick, the 42nd overall selection, but the Kings have three second-round picks acquired in other trades. They acquired the 40th pick from the Minnesota Timberwolves, the 47th pick from the Orlando Magic and the 60th pick from the Milwaukee Bucks. General manager Vlade Divac could try to use some combination of those picks to move into the first round.
The NBA revamped its lottery system this year to level the odds, reducing the incentive for teams to tank at the end of the season. The teams with the three worst records will each have a 14-percent chance of winning the lottery. The team with the worst record previously had a 25-percent chance of securing the No. 1 pick.
The odds for the 11 remaining positions in the draft lottery will be reduced gradually. Charlotte, Miami and Sacramento have a 1-percent chance of winning and a 4.8-percent chance of landing in the top four.