The Washington Wizards are back in the NBA Draft Lottery!
While the NBA playoffs get underway inside the NBA’s Orlando bubble, the bottom half of the league is preparing for the NBA Draft lottery. Yes, that includes the Washington Wizards.
After drafting Rui Hachimura in the 2019 NBA Draft, this is the first time the Wizards have been to the draft lottery in consecutive years since their four-year lottery run from 2010-2013. In those drafts, they chose John Wall, Jan Vesely, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter. So a lottery pick doesn’t necessarily equal a franchise cornerstone, but the Wizards have been lucky enough to find two All-Stars in the lottery over the past decade. Will they find another this year?
When is the NBA Draft Lottery?
This year’s NBA Draft Lottery will be held on Thursday, August 20, at 8 pm. Like most things these days, this lottery will be like nothing we’ve ever seen before. This year, teams won’t send representatives to gather in-person for the lottery selections. Instead, team reps will gather virtually for the draft-order reveal. 2019 lottery pick Rui Hachimura will be representing the Washington Wizards.
How does the NBA Draft Lottery work?
Two words: Ping-pong balls. The top four picks in the draft will be decided by drawing team-branded ping-pong balls. The team with the worst record (Golden State Warriors) will have the most ping-pong balls in rotation and, therefore the best chance at the top pick, while the team with the best record (Memphis Grizzlies) will have the least balls and the worst chance at landing the top pick.
Once the top-four picks are set, the remaining ten picks (4-14) will be determined by record. The team with the worst remaining record picks 5th while the best remaining record picks 14th.
What are the Washington Wizards’ chances of landing the top pick?
In 2019, the NBA changed their draft lottery rules, allowing each team a chance to jump into the top four. Previously, only the top three picks were up for grabs in the lottery.
The rule change didn’t help the Wizards last year when they entered the lottery with the sixth-best odds but left with the ninth pick. Hopefully, things go better this year, even though they’ll have worse incoming odds.
Lottery odds are determined based on team records from before the NBA resumed play in Orlando. So the Wizards come in with the 9th worst record and the 9th best odds.
Here are their chances at landing each of the top-14 picks in the NBA Draft:
- 1st pick: 4.5%
- 2nd pick: 4.8%
- 3rd pick: 5.2%
- 4th pick: 5.7%
- 5th pick: N/A
- 6th pick: N/A
- 7th pick: N/A
- 8th pick: N/A
- 9th pick: 50.7%
- 10th pick: 25.9%
- 11th pick: 3.0%
- 12th pick: 0.1%
- 13th pick: >0.0%
- 14th pick: N/A
To put it simply: The Wizards have a 20.3 percent chance to pick within the top four, and a 79.7 percent chance to pick between nine and 13.
Now We Wait…
If the Wizards do get lucky and jump into the top four, they’ll have plenty of options. Center James Wiseman would be the best fit given what the Wizards need (rim protection, rebounding) and what he does best (those things). But LaMelo Ball and Anthony Edwards are also intriguing, high-upside combo guards.
If they land outside of the top four, things get a little less clear. But let’s hope they get lucky.
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