The Sacramento Kings moved superstar DeMarcus Cousins Sunday and snagged a first rounder from the Pelicans. However, thanks to trades involving Omri Casspi (not the Cousins trade), Nik Stauskas, Carl Landry and Jason Thompson, they could end up with no first round picks. It’s an extremely unlikely situation, but here are all the ways the Kings could lose out on one or more picks this year.
The tank fails, and the Kings give the Bulls their pick
Back in June 2011, the Kings shipped Omri Casspi and an ever-less protected first to the Bulls. They got J.J. Hickson in return… for 35 games. Nevertheless, the pick persists. Its protection has dropped every year, and now sits at top-ten protected. If the Kings’ own draft pick falls outside of the top 10, they ship it to Chicago. The pick currently sits at 11th, which means that the pick has a 97.1% chance of conferring. However, trading DeMarcus Cousins will drive their standings well into the top-five, giving them better odds at keeping the pick. In this situation, the Kings would keep the Pelicans’ pick UNLESS…
They give the Pelicans their pick back
In a trade full of stupidity, the dumbest provision is the first-rounder the Pelicans sent to the Kings this year. It is top-three protected. The Pelicans said, “we want your superstar, but we want our pick if we win the lottery.” Vlade said okay. That’s a different conversation, but in this case, it means that if the Pelicans jump into the top three, the Kings lose their pick for this year. They will get another shot next year, but the Pelicans, not the Kings, will be taking a difference maker at the top of the draft.
The Pelicans are currently #8 in the lottery standings, which means they have a 10% chance of getting a top-three pick, and a 90% chance of the Sacramento Kings getting picks 8, 9 or 10. Obviously, with the addition of Boogie, these odds shift more towards the Kings getting increasingly worse picks. Those are the two straightforward ways the Kings can lose a pick this year, then there’s the stupid way…
“The Vivek Cataclysm”
Before the 2015-16 season, Vivek & Co. salary dumped Carl Landry, Sauce Castillo, and Jason Thompson to get space to sign Rajon Rondo to a one-year deal. Oh don’t worry, it sounded like a worse idea at the time. Anyway, part of that trade allows the 76ers to swap picks with the Sacramento Kings in this draft. While right now the 76ers are far and away worse than the Kings, and they are unlikely to exercise their pick swap with the Kings.
But what if the worst happens? The Kings successfully tank hard and win the draft? And the Pelicans fall apart, and their pick is second? The Sixers then activate their pick swap, leaving the Kings out of the #1 pick, and the Pelicans get to keep their top-three protected pick. That’s the worst case scenario—winning the lottery and not getting a pick, or is it?
The Kings get no picks (The Divacalypse)
There is a scenario that leaves the Sacramento Kings without a pick. It’s unlikely, but it exists. Kings fans are conditioned to accept pain and bad luck, especially around the draft. There’s a combination of luck that causes the Kings to end up with no first round selections next year. While the odds are infinitesimal, they are possible, and it’s only a two-step process.
First, the Kings’ own pick confers to Chicago (outside the top ten). Second, the Pelicans pick is top three, and it stays with New Orleans. This is the nightmare scenario, but as of right now it has a 9.1% chance of happening, but that is only going to steadily move downward and is unlikely to happen.
The Kings are in a scenario where they are set up to tank, but terribly set up to reap the rewards of that tanking. There are multiple scenarios where they lose a pick, have to move back, or even lose both picks they own. It’s going to be a dangerous tightrope they have to walk for the last 25 games of the season, but this way you can understand the potential outcomes.