Leading Off

Leading Off: Will Kings beat odds, land top draft pick?

Kentucky NCAA college basketball player Karl-Anthony Towns speaks to reporters after announcing his intent to place his name in the NBA draft during a news conference at the Joe Craft Center, Thursday, April 9, 2015, in Lexington, Ky.
Kentucky NCAA college basketball player Karl-Anthony Towns speaks to reporters after announcing his intent to place his name in the NBA draft during a news conference at the Joe Craft Center, Thursday, April 9, 2015, in Lexington, Ky. AP

When the Kings read this, I’m betting principal owner Vivek Ranadive will give me a call, inviting me to join him for the NBA draft lottery on May 19.

Turns out, I’m way luckier than the Kings have been.

They’ve been in the lottery the past eight years, and the best they’ve done was a No. 4 pick in 2009, which they used to select Tyreke Evans. Evans was the Rookie of the Year, but he was traded after his fourth season with the Kings to New Orleans, where he’s become a key player for the Pelicans.

Guess how I did Wednesday playing ESPN’s mock lottery game?

Yup, with 6.3 percent chance on my first click, the Kings came up with the No. 1 pick, which they should use to select Kentucky freshman Karl-Anthony Towns.

Towns is considered an elite shot-blocker and rebounder who also can shoot from almost anywhere on the floor.

Imagine Towns, who is 6-feet-11 and 250 pounds and presumably still growing since he’s just 19, in the Kings’ frontcourt with DeMarcus Cousins, another former Kentucky big man who left after just one season.

The duo could be the NBA’s best bigs, with Towns providing the rim protection the Kings so desperately need and helping Cousins dominate the boards.

The Kings got lucky once in 1989, but they used the overall top pick on Pervis Ellison, who as a rookie was nicknamed “Out of Service Pervis” by teammate Danny Ainge.

Of course, they participated in that lottery without my help.


What to watch

NBA playoffs, Golden State at New Orleans, 6:30 p.m., TNT: The top-seeded Warriors can take a commanding 3-0 lead over the Pelicans.


Twitter chatter

@roywoodjr: “THIS JUST IN: Oklahoma City fires Scott Brooks. Russell Westbrook names himself head coach.”


On this date

2005: The 49ers select Alex Smith with the first pick in the NFL draft. Smith is the fifth consecutive quarterback to be taken first overall and the seventh in eight years.


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