Wizards lose tiebreaker to Detroit; will have eighth-best NBA lottery odds

April 20, 2013

Stuffed again. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

The Wizards lost to the Detroit Pistons once again. As if suffering a four-game regular-season sweep to the equally lowly Pistons wasn’t enough, the Wizards lost a tiebreaker on Friday that will give them the eighth-best odds (3.5 percent) of winning the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft lottery.

Washington (29-53) finished tied with Detroit for the seventh-worst record but the Pistons  have the seventh-best odds (3.6 percent) after the NBA conducted a random drawing overseen by the accounting firm of Ernst & Young. The draft lottery will be held May 21 in New York. Orlando, which finished an NBA-worst 20-62, has the best odds at 25 percent.

The lottery determines the draft order for the top three picks, with other 11 teams that failed to make the playoffs falling in order based on record. The Wizards will pick no lower than 11th in the June 27 NBA draft, under the unlikely scenario that three teams leapfrog them into the top three spots.

In 14 of their past 16 lottery trips, the Wizards have only moved up twice – in 2001, when they landed the No. 1 overall pick (which turned out to be Kwame Brown) after having a 15.7 percent chance; and in 2010, when they landed top choice (John Wall) despite a 10.3 percent chance.

They finished tied with the second-worst record in 2009, won a tiebreaker with the Los Angeles Clippers but ended up with the fifth pick (which was later later dealt to Minnesota for Mike Miller and Randy Foye). They finished tied for the fourth-worst record with the Golden State Warriors in 2010 and lost the tie-breaker. In 2011, the Wizards had the third-best odds but dropped to the sixth overall pick (which turned out to be Jan Vesely). And last season, the Wizards had the second-best odds and dropped down one spot to third (and selected Bradley Beal).

The Wizards will either pick 37th or 38th in the second round, based on the lottery results, with the team with the lowest first-round pick between Detroit and Washington getting the higher second-round pick. They also have the 54th overall pick, which was acquired from the New York Knicks in a three-team trade that brought Ronny Turiaf to Washington.

Coach Randy WIttman said he felt the Wizards could use another veteran and Martell Webster, who will be a free agent this summer, agreed. The upcoming draft doesn’t have a clear-cut favorite and isn’t expected to produce an immediate impact player.

“Listen, this team’s already been through the rebuilding stage, and ‘We’re going to develop guys.’ I don’t think they have time for that, honestly, to tell you the truth. It’s gotta be now. Now. It just has to happen now,” he said. “We don’t have time to develop guys. We have great young guys already developing. We don’t need to bring more in. That’s just my take. I’m not a GM.”

Wall was initially opposed to the Wizards adding more players through the draft but backed off some when asked in his exit interview. “I don’t know what to say. I’ll leave that up to management,” Wall said. “I think we have enough young players, but I think management knows what’s best for us and the organization and they’ll make the right decision.”

Michael Lee is the national basketball writer for The Washington Post.
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Michael Lee · April 18, 2013