Kings Net Lucky No. 7
For the 6th time in Sacramento-era history, the Kings have secured the 7th-overall selection in the NBA Draft. Additionally, the team holds the 36th pick in the June 27 event.
Kings fans packed Buffalo Wild Wings in Natomas – site of the 2013 Kings Draft Lottery Party – Tuesday evening, joining Kings TV Play-by-Play Announcer Grant Napear, Kings P.A. Announcer Scott Moak, Slamson, Kings Dancers and more to find out where Sacramento would pick in the June 27 NBA Draft.
"It's the best turnout I've had for one of these Draft parties," said Napear. "It's amazing – the enthusiasm (and) the passion is phenomenal. I'm not surprised at all."
The eager crowd applauded as Kings Head Coach Keith Smart – the team's representative at the proceedings at Disney/ABC's Time Square Studios in N.Y. – was shown on dozens of flat-screen TVs throughout the restaurant, and remained optimistic and upbeat after Sacramento secured lucky No. 7 in the Draft.
"It's awesome to be at a Draft Lottery party and on the way to another season," said "Sign Lady," Barbara Rust. "We renewed our season tickets and we've already made reservations for Summer League. We just can't wait! How fast can it start already, so we can get in the arena and cheer for our team? I'm just so grateful to everybody who made this happen."
"I'm just excited to … (hear) everybody talking about Kings basketball again and hearing how many people are buying season tickets," said Niko Rust. "To get that atmosphere back in the arena we used to have makes such a big difference to the players and I'm really looking forward to it."
Former Kings player and current radio analyst Henry Turner put the Draft Lottery results in perspective after learning the team had dropped one spot in the drawing for the fourth time in Sacramento era-history.
"This city has won – whether it's the seventh pick or the 30th pick," said Turner. "This team is here to stay, so whatever comes at No. 7, at the end of the day, it'll be great."
This summer will mark the sixth time the Kings have held the No. 7 pick in 18 Lottery appearances – more times than any other selection in the Sacramento era. The team's previous choices in the spot include two-time Rookie of the Month winner Lionel Simmons of La Salle in 1990, All-Rookie Second Team member Walt Williams of Maryland in 1992, Duke star Bobby Hurley in 1993 and dazzling point guard and fan-favorite Jason Williams of Florida in 1998. In 2011, Sacramento traded its No. 7 pick in a multi-team deal, which netted the nation's leading scorer, Jimmer Fredette of BYU.
Around the League, exceptional players taken No. 7 are headlined by Hall-of-Famer Chris Mullin, Rookie of the Year Damon Stoudamire, Warriors standout Stephen Curry and three-time NBA All-Star and current Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson.
"I thought it was very interesting and kind of ironic, in a way, that the man who spearheaded (the Kings staying), Kevin Johnson, (wore No. 7) and the Kings are getting the No. 7 pick," said Napear. "There's definitely some synergy – there's no doubt about it."
Tom Telliani, a Kings fan since 1985, fittingly sported a customized No. 7 Kings jersey with "K.J." printed on the back to the Draft Party.
"I had this jersey done today at the arena," he said. "He did so much. It's my good luck charm and I'm really happy with the pick."
In the lead-up to the unveiling of the Draft Lottery results, Kings Dancers and Slamson high-fived and posed for photos with countless fans.
"The atmosphere is great," said first-year Dancer Roxanne. "I could feel the energy around me as soon as I walked in. I was so excited!"
"It's awesome," added veteran dancer Katerina. "Everyone's so happy, having fun, screaming and winning prizes."
Diehards of all ages scored special giveaways, including video games, autographed items, bobbleheads and lower level tickets to the 2013-14 season home opener.
"It's been a lot of fun," said George Peacher, a fan since 1998, donning a throwback Chris Webber jersey. "We won a prize pack (with) a Marcus Thornton signed photograph."
Francisco Gomez – a Kings supporter since 1994 – was thrilled to share the evening's festivities with his brother and eight-year-old son.
"I'm really enjoying this night and I'm glad I'm here," he said. "(I'm) just loving having everyone out here supporting the Kings (and) having a good time.
"Anything that helps the team (in the Draft) is good with me."
Although Sacramento didn't land the coveted top pick, Vivek Ranadivé voiced his confidence in the team's placement.
My lucky number 7, day I was born 7, Curry picked at 7, Barnes at 7, seven is heaven
— Vivek Ranadivé (@Vivek) May 22, 2013
Tune-in to the 2013 NBA Draft on Thursday, June 27 at 4 p.m. PDT from Barclays Center in Brooklyn on ESPN and ESPN Radio. Plus, stay current with Kings.com for complete pre-Draft coverage.