Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

May 20, 2009
A Lottery letdown for Kings

Coverage in print: Story, sidebar, Voisin column
***

Gavin Maloof just kept going.

With a mob of media around him at the back of Center Court restaurant on Tuesday, the Kings co-owner and casino man whose team so badly needed a premier pick in the draft lottery kept insisting he wasn't mad at Lady Luck.

Sure they had drawn a pair when they needed a royal flush - being awarded the worst of all possible options with the fourth pick - but this hand wasn't completely lost.

"(Kings basketball president) Geoff (Petrie) is going to come out with a rabbit in the hat, but you don't even need a rabbit with the fourth pick," Maloof said. "You're going to get an impact player there. In the NBA, normally your impact players are top five. And then after that, it gets a little dicey. But again, this is the first top four pick we've had in 18 years, so this is new ground for Kings fans. It's something they can get excited about and help take our franchise to the next level.
"My mindset going in was that this was a win-win for us. Twenty six other teams wish they had our pick. I look at it that way."

Just as Gavin was providing his pep talk for anyone who would listen, Kings director of player personnel Jerry Reynolds was reminding the masses that even the most-seemingly predictable of drafts can be unpredictable.

"Four years ago, the best player in the draft was the fourth pick, (New Orleans point guard) Chris Paul," Reynolds said. "Three years ago, the best player in the draft was the sixth pick, (Portland guard) Brandon Roy. Last year, the fourth pick was a guy named Russell Westbrook, who turned in a terrific year (for Oklahoma City). Obviously, there's no reason to believe you can't get a quality, quality player that can help this franchise for years to come.
"I think (this) draft is deep enough to where everybody that is in the top eight or nine ought to be able to find a really quality young player."

For those who tend to opt for the interesting over the instant-gratification, No. 4 works for you. The Kings' options will be many on June 25, with potential chances to move up by leveraging one or both of their other picks (No. 23 and No. 31) or down to perhaps gain another pick or player. The workouts that begin on Thursday with UCLA point guard Jrue Holiday and friends become all the more interesting, with the possibilities seemingly endless for more than a month from there.

Meanwhile at the scene in Secaucus, N.J., former Kings forward and team representative Chris Webber said he was as disappointed as the rest that the ping pong balls didn't fall the Kings' way.

"I was very nervous," he said by phone. "You don't really have any control. You're just hoping we get the first pick (but) I was hoping for one or two.
"At the same time, if you look at the Geoff Petrie resume', just look at the playoffs now, at the players who the Kings took (in the draft), with (New Orleans') Peja (Stojakovic), (Orlando's) Hedo (Turkoglu), all those guys...I'd close my eyes and put all my money down on a Geoff pick every time."

MORE WEBBER APPEARANCES TO COME?

The reunions between Webber and his former team are becoming all the more regular, but it remains to be seen whether he will get his wish and join the Kings in a more formal capacity anytime soon.

Late in the Kings season, Webber had shared his desires to play an ambassador-type, front-office role with the organization. While Gavin Maloof said there have been some discussions about the matter, neither side had anything to report.

"I think the team right now, the Maloofs, are doing every thing the best they can," Webber said when asked about an update. "It's going to be great when we get the new draft pick in. As far as my relationship with the Kings, I'm just a fan. I'm a fan, a supporter, and part of the family. They put my jersey in the rafters, so it's like my picture is in the living room every time you walk in...My capacity is just rooting for the team and wishing them well."

Gavin spoke only in general terms as well.

"We have spoken to him (about a role), and I know he wants to participate with the Kings," Gavin said. "We love Chris, and we'll see where that leads us in the future." - Sam Amick



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