Ever since the dawn of basketball, the Sacramento Kings have been an unlucky franchise, but most of that has also had to do with the fact that they’ve always found different ways to shoot themselves in the foot.
Besides drafting players that are mere flukes and don’t live to their true potential, the Kings have a long history of passing in top-notch prospects, potential franchise players that could finally turn their luck around.
Moreover, this is a team that has actually had the chance to take as much as 7 players that wind up being top 25-30 on NBA history, but wind up settling for guys you won’t even remember their names 5 years from now. Today, we’re going to let you know about the players they didn’t take when they could.
1956 NBA Draft
Si Green (1th) – Bill Russell (2nd)
Right after the Boston Celtics took Tom Heinsohn with their territorial pick, the Rochester Royals (later, Sacramento Kings), decided to go with Si Green, a combo guard that averaged roughly 9 points, 4 boards and 3 dimes a game.
Right after him, St. Louis Hawks got Bill Russell, who would eventually be traded to the Boston Celtics to lead them to 11 NBA Championships in 13 seasons, so yes, I think they could really do better with him.
1976 NBA Draft
Richard Washington (3rd) – Moses Malone (5th)
The Kansas City Kings thought they were getting a stud and dominant big man in Richard Washington when they got him with the 3rd overall pick, but instead, he stayed with the team for a couple of seasons and then he was traded to the Bucks.
On the other hand, they could’ve had one of the most promising ballers in the league, a guy that was already a star and that would go on to dominate opposing big men despite being undersized, Moses Malone; who won 1 Championship, 3 MVPs and led the league in boards 6 times.
1978 NBA Draft
Phil Ford (2nd) – Larry Bird (6th)
For a guy that was drafted as high as 2nd overall, you’d expect Phil Ford to have played for more than 7 seasons in the league, but unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. The Kings wasted a pick on a guy that would win the ROY and then go downhill from there.
On the other hand, they could’ve had the best small forward of his generation, a freak that could shoot lights out from three-point land or punish you from inside, and that led the Celtics to 3 NBA Championships and a 3 time MVP.
1984 NBA Draft
Otis Thorpe (9th) – John Stockton (16th)
Otis Thorpe actually had a pretty decent career and even won a Championship with the Rockets, being a hardworking big man that averaged 14 points and over 8 rebounds a game, but he was only a part of the Kings for about 3 seasons.
On the other hand, they could’ve gone with arguably the greatest two-way point guard ever in John Stockton, a dime machine that was deadly in passing lanes and that would’ve been a two time Champion if it wasn’t for Michael Jordan.
1985 NBA Draft
Joe Kleine (6th) – Karl Malone (13th)
Back in 1985, the Kings were still looking for a top-notch big man despite having just drafted Otis Thorpe the previous year, so they tried their luck with Joe Kleine, whose career averages of 4.8 points and 4.1 rebounds may tell you all you need to know about him.
Instead, they should’ve gone with Karl Malone, who slipped all the way to the 13th spot before becoming one of the most dominant power forwards in the history of the game, a dominant force down low that made a huge impact in both ends of the hardwood and won a couple of MVPs.
1998 NBA Draft
Jason Williams (7th) – Dirk Nowitzki (9th)
Well, truth to be told, we can’t blame the Kings for taking a shot in Jason Williams, as that guy was arguably the best entertainer in the history of the game and looked like his upside was sky high due to his craftiness and ability to make incredible plays night after night.
Even so, Williams wasn’t more than a great passer, and they could’ve gone with the unathletic big man out of Germany, Dirk Nowitzki, who wind up becoming the most prolific scoring big man ever, and the guy that set the bar for a modern stretch big men.
2009 NBA Draft
Tyreke Evans (4th) – Stephen Curry (7th)
And last but not least, the Kings most recent strikeout in the Draft was taking Tyreke Evans. Evans was great out of the gate and even took the ROY home, but that was pretty much it for him before his last season’s surge as a top-tier 6th man.
On the other hand, the Kings could’ve landed the best point guard of the last 5 years or so, the greatest shooter ever, a 2 time MVP and 3 time NBA Champion in Stephen Curry, who’s ankles made him slip all the way to the 7th spot.