Sacramento Kings: A look back at the last 10 NBA Drafts

Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images /
5 of 12
Photo by Stephen Pellegrino/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Stephen Pellegrino/NBAE via Getty Images /


 Kings pick: Thomas Robinson (5th), Orlando Johnson (36th)

Thomas Robinson was fantastic as a Kansas Jayhawk. He was the 2012 Big 12 Player of the Year. Robinson was dominating in the paint and helped the Jayhawks start to a 10-0 record.

This was fueled by Robinson experiencing one of the most difficult times anyone has ever faced. He received a phone call from his mother in late December 2010 that his grandmother passed away. Only three weeks later, he received another phone call; his grandfather had also passed away.

He was in a situation that seemingly couldn’t get any worse, but it did get worse… much worse. He missed a call from his little sister. When he returned the call, he was greeted by her crying hysterically. His mother suffered a heart attack and passed away. In the course of just over three weeks, Thomas Robinson lost three of the biggest influences in his life. The whole country was rooting for this young man who had lost everything.

Unfortunately, Robinson was next in the line of Sacramento Kings rookies who failed in the NBA. His tenure with the Kings was incredibly short-lived. He was dealt to the Rockets 51 games into his rookie season and has had difficulties staying in the league since. An NBA journeyman, Robinson has since been with the Portland Trail Blazers, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers, and was signed by both the Denver Nuggets and Atlanta Hawks, but he never suited up for either club.

Orlando Johnson was drafted by the Kings, but bought by the Indiana Pacers the next day. He later found his way back to Sacramento, but only played seven games. A good share of his career was spent in the D-League and he hasn’t been with any team since the Milwaukee Bucks waived him in 2016.

Who they missed

In what was an otherwise shallow draft, the Kings still missed out on some serious hidden gems. Robinson was selected fifth, meaning that the Kings missed out on:

It didn’t make sense at the time, as they had both Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette running the point guard position, but the team could’ve ascended to new heights had it selected Damian Lillard. A Lillard-Cousins tandem would be bound for success and would likely still be together in Sacramento today had they meshed well.