Kevin Huerter

Kings retain 2024 first-round pick after play-in loss to Pelicans

NBC Universal, Inc.

The bad news for the Kings is that their season is over. The good news for them is that they will retain their first-round pick in the 2024 NBA Draft.

Following the Kings' 105-98 NBA Play-In Tournament loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday at Smoothie King Center, Sacramento retains the lottery-protected 2024 first-round pick sent to the Atlanta Hawks in the July 2022 trade for Kevin Huerter.

The pick -- which is lottery protected only in 2024 -- now becomes a top-12 protected pick in 2025. Should the selection not convey next season due to Sacramento's pick falling within the first 12 of the 2025 NBA draft, it becomes a top-10 protected pick in 2026.

Due to the Kings finishing with the same record (46-36) as the Warriors, Sacramento must await a tiebreaker to sort out the No. 13 and No. 14 spots in the lottery.

Huerter -- who has been sidelined since March 18 with a shoulder injury -- has become a key figure during his two seasons with the Kings. The 25-year-old has recorded 134 starts for Sacramento, averaging 12.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 139 appearances since arriving in California's capital.

With the Kings desperately needing to keep pace with a loaded Western Conference, Sacramento's lottery draft pick provides additional ammunition to restock a roster that might face some key departures over the summer.

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