No matter what happens in their final two games, the Wizards are assured of finishing with the second-worst record in the NBA for the second time in four seasons. The New Orleans Hornets defeated the Golden State Warriors, 83-81, late Tuesday night to guarantee that the Wizards will have the second-best odds to win the NBA draft lottery on May 30.
The Hornets pulled it out in a frantic finish in Oakland – where former Maryland point guard Greivis Vasquez fed Marco Belinelli for the game-winning layup with seven-tenths of a second remaining – giving them 21 wins.
At best, the Wizards (18-46) can win 20 games. They can also finish with no worse than the fifth overall pick in the June 28 NBA draft.
Washington will have a 19.9 percent chance of winning the right to draft Kentucky big man Anthony Davis. In the weighted lottery era, the team with the second-worst record has won the lottery four times – in 1992, when Orlando drafted Shaquille O’Neal in 1994, when Milwaukee (which finished regular season in a three-way tie, but had fourth-best odds) picked Glenn Robinson; in 1996, when Philadelphia picked Allen Iverson; and in 2009, when the Los Angeles Clippers (who finished regular season tied with the Wizards but had third-best odds) picked Blake Griffin.
The Wizards had the fifth-worst record when they won the right to draft John Wall in 2010, and the third-worst record when they won the right to draft Kwame Brown in 2001.
Jordan Crawford said three weeks ago that he wanted the Wizards to get 20 wins, a goal that is within reach with the team closing out the season with games Wednesday in Cleveland against the lottery-bound Cavaliers and at home on Thursday against a Miami Heat team that likely will resemble a lottery squad if LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh take the night off.
“It’s definitely a possibility,” Crawford said. “We playing good as a team. Hopefully, we can keep it up for these last two.”
And, now the Wizards can win without hurting their draft lottery position. Charlotte has the best odds of winning the rights to draft Davis, at 25 percent.