In a not so shocking turn of events, the Sacramento Kings have once again come up empty handed on lottery night and will draft 7th in the 2011 NBA draft. This has become a common occurrence here in Sacramento. Every year the fans get amped up for the lottery, because, you know, the Kings have been lottery participants in all but ten of a possible 26 seasons here in Sacramento. Sure, the Kings won the lottery once, way back in 1989, you remember, the Pervis Ellison draft. For the third season in a row, the Kings came into the lottery with high hopes of a top pick, finishing with the worst record in 2009, the third worst record in 2010 and the fifth worst record in 2011. Sure enough, every season, they fall in the lottery, watching teams with better records slide above them in the draft order. First to fourth, third to fifth and now fifth to seventh…in a two man draft.
The Kings are no strangers to pick number seven. Jason Williams (1998), Bobby Hurley (1993), Walt Williams (1992) and Lionel Simmons (1990) all came to the Kings via the seventh pick in the draft. Of the group, Jason Williams made the biggest impact before being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies for Mike Bibby in 2001. We all know the Bobby Hurley story. 19 games into his rookie season, Hurley was t-boned leaving Arco Arena after a game, almost losing his life in the accident. Although he returned to the NBA, he only played a total of 269 games over a five year career, never returning to the form that made him one of the all-time great NCAA players. Walt Williams brought excitement early in his career but made his mark late as a three point specialist, playing for six different teams over a 12 year career. Lionel Simmons had four very productive seasons for the Kings early in his career but injuries curtailed his his career, forcing him to retire at the age of 28 in 1997.
Whether the Kings use their pick or deal it away for veteran leadership is yet to be decided but the Kings front office has to be slightly deflated by the events of this evening, much like their fanbase. I guess it could have been worse, the Kings could be drafting number eight.