Fool’s Gold

The Kings currently have a 25-54 record and had won their first game since March 21 last night at Arco.

At first you would think this is a negative – which for the present it is, and nobody likes for their team to lose – but if you are looking at the future, this should be seen as a positive.

Last month was a great time for Kings fans and basketball fans alike. We were able to watch the NCAA tournament. If you watched enough games, you would have been able to see that there are two great prospects coming out.

The consensus is that John Wall of Kentucky and Evan Turner of Ohio State are two difference makers who will be leaving college and entering the 2010 draft.

If you are unaware of how the NBA lottery works, I’ll clue you in.

Contrary to other professional sports, the NBA enforced a lottery in 1985 and have developed it since then, giving teams a percentage based on their record for the season. The worse your record is, the better your odds are. This was done in order to prevent teams from tanking.

Out of the 1,000 total balls in the lottery, three balls are chosen, and those balls are the only ones that decide the order. The team whose ball is chosen first is awarded the No. 1 pick, and that same process is how they give the second and third pick. The remaining teams are given their pick simply based on record.

Even though you could say the Cleveland Cavaliers tanked in 2003 to get LeBron, the odds were against them. And could you blame them?  Their best player was Ricky Davis.  The New Jersey Nets also won the lottery in 2000 while having the worst record. So, in the last 10 years, the team with the worst record in the NBA only won the lottery twice.

Last year the Sacramento Kings had the best chances to get the No. 1 pick with a record of 17-65, but they fell to number four, taking Tyreke Evans in that slot. The Los Angeles Clippers, who were tied for the second-worst record last season, ended up with the No. 1 pick in last year’s draft, taking Blake Griffin.

Although it might sound like I’m arguing against my own point, the fact is that the Kings’ odds of landing an upper-echelon player like Wall or Turner is so much greater if they lose on out.

A week ago the Kings were sitting in the sixth spot of the lottery, having close to a 6 percent chance of winning. Currently, the Kings have a 25-54 record. Now, instead of having a 6 percent chance of nabbing a John Wall or Evan Turner with the number one pick, the Kings have close to a 9 percent chance. If the Kings continue to lose and the Wizards and or Warriors win a few games, the Kings could possible have a 15.6 percent chance of winning the lottery.

We all want our team to win. Whether it is in the NBA, NFL or Little League, winning is important. The question is whether you can take a few losses now and reap the benefits next year, or win a couple games to close out the year and have another year like this year, only winning a handful of games more.

The Oklahoma City Thunder went from being a bottom feeder to the playoffs in two years after drafting Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The same goes for Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge in Portland.

Teams can improve in three ways: free agency, trade and the draft.

One of the quickest ways to improve your franchise is through the draft, and if the Kings play their cards right, they have a chance to make a quicker turnaround than many of us would have expected.

By no means am I asking for the Kings to quit, nor do I think they will. What I’m asking for are competitive games that will help us in the future. And that will take a couple more losses this season for many more wins in the near future.

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