Leading Off

Kings need to make drastic moves to get out of nine-year funk

If you’re a Kings fan, how much more of this cycle of torture can you take?

Depending on how you look at it, Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery either marks the end of another brutally painful season or the unofficial tipoff of another.

This is the ninth consecutive year the Kings will participate in the lottery following a non-playoff season. The Kings always seem to keep their pre-lottery draft position or drop back a spot or two.

The Kings enter the lottery in the No. 6 spot, with a 6.3 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick that would bring them Karl-Anthony Towns, the coveted big man from Kentucky. Instead, they have a 43.9 percent chance of staying at No. 6 and a 30.5 percent chance of dropping to No. 7 and landing Willie Cauley-Stein, another Wildcats big man.

But would Cauley-Stein make an immediate impact? History says no. Other than DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans, the Kings’ first-round lottery picks have had little or no effect as rookies.

The Kings will sign free agents, but it’s unlikely they will land one who will make a big difference.

More likely, when the season starts, the Kings will struggle to play as a team, Cousins will fume and pile up technicals, coach George Karl will wonder why he took this job and another ticket to the NBA lottery will be punched by early March.

Unless Vlade Divac – the former Kings point-center who now calls the personnel shots as the team’s vice president of basketball and franchise operations – does something drastic to shake this floundering franchise upside down and inside out, the song will remain the same.

Such an overhaul likely would include trading Cousins and Rudy Gay.

No question it would be a huge risk for Divac to trade the Kings’ two best players. But not making a dramatic change would be an even bigger risk.

What’s the worst that can happen? The Kings missing the playoffs for the 10th consecutive year?

Victor Contreras: (916) 326-5527, @sacbeevictor



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