Top 5 picks face off as surging Kings face slumping Pistons

Teams hoping to become lucky losers in the 2022 NBA Draft lottery get an opportunity to show off their consolation prizes to one another when the Detroit Pistons visit the Sacramento Kings on Sunday afternoon.The Pistons and Kings both finished with bottom-seven records last season, giving each at least some optimism that luck could land them the No. 1 pick in the draft.It didn’t pan out. The Kings moved up from No. 7 to No. 4, which was significantly better than the fate that befell the Pistons, who fell from co-favorite to the fifth spot.After Paolo Banchero (Orlando), Chet Holmgren (Oklahoma City) and Jabari Smith Jr. (Houston) were selected, the Kings had their choice of Iowa forward Keegan Murray or Purdue guard Jaden Ivey.Sacramento chose Murray, allowing the Pistons to snatch Ivey.So far: Advantage, Pistons. While the Kings have gotten off to a much faster start in the win column, Ivey has thus far exceeded Murray in stats.Playing alongside Cade Cunningham until the top pick of the 2021 draft injured his shin recently, Ivey has scored in double figures in 15 of his 16 games and recorded double-doubles in three. His 17 points and five assists in Friday’s 128-121 road loss to the Los Angeles Lakers left his season averages at 16.3 and 4.2, respectively.”I love his game,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey assures. “He’s going to be a great player in our league for a long time. He just has to go through the growing pains.”Ivey went head-to-head with No. 1 overall pick Banchero in the opener and contributed 19 points to a Pistons win. He has yet to face Holmgren, who is injured and out for the season, or Smith, and on Sunday gets his first shot at Murray.

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