It was nearly a year ago, when John Wall was seated on a couch in the Los Angeles home of his agent, Dan Fegan, pondering his future and anxiously awaiting the results of the NBA draft lottery. When the Washington Wizards won the No. 1 pick, Wall was surprised, but not nearly as shocked as former majority owner Irene Pollin, whose wide-open mouth and widened eyes encapsulated the stunning development for a franchise that rarely experiences much luck.
A month after completing his rookie season, Wall was sent to NBA Entertainment studios in Secaucus, N.J., to represent the team as the undisputed face of the franchise. He wanted to borrow Pollin’s yellow blazer, or possibly bring up some pearls, but when those efforts failed, Wall brought the only good luck charm he could find: His mother, Frances Pulley.
“She couldn’t be there when I was in L.A.,” Wall said. “She was back home. I just wanted her to see how it was.”
Pulley was in the audience to see her son deliver the sixth pick for the Wizards.
The Cleveland Cavaliers won the top choice, with Minnesota going second and Utah going third.
The Wizards were hoping to become the first team since Orlando in 1992 and 1993 to win the draft lottery in consecutive years. They had the fourth-best odds (an 11.9 percent chance) to win, but instead dropped two spots after both Cleveland and Utah leaped into the top three.
Since 1980, the Wizards have selected sixth on three previous occasions and wound up picking Calbert Cheaney in 1993, Tom Gugliotta in 1992 and Mel Turpin in 1984.