New Orleans may have moved up three spots to earn the right to draft Davis with the No. 1 overall pick, and Charlotte may have secured the No. 2 pick after finishing with the worst winning percentage in NBA history, but Leonsis felt relief and comfort with the outcome.
“We end our night really thrilled,” said Leonsis, son of Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis and the manager of business development for Monumental Sports and Entertainment. “I’m not trying to sugarcoat it, we’re really lucky that this is a good draft and we’re going to get an impact player, potential starting five kind of a guy and he’s really going to help our team.”
Afterward, his father shared his enthusiasm, despite missing out on Davis, the consensus player of the year last season. Ted Leonsis emphatically stated: “This fortunately is a deep draft. We won’t be trading the third pick in the draft.”
Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld, who was given an extension last month, has said that about “two to six players” are vying for the spots in the top five. With the third pick, the Wizards will likely get to choose from a pool that could include Kansas big man Thomas Robinson, Kentucky swingman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, North Carolina guard Harrison Barnes, Florida guard Bradley Beal and Connecticut big man Andre Drummond.
“We feel really good about where we are,” Grunfeld said. “I don’t know if it’s a specific position we’re looking for, but I think we’ll have our pick of someone that can be a solid piece for us.”
Now that their draft position has been determined, the Wizards will next look to address who will lead them as coach next season. Grunfeld has been mostly silent about the status of Coach Randy Wittman and his staff since the season ended last month.
Wittman finished the season 18-31 after replacing Flip Saunders on Jan. 24 and is still under contract through next season. When asked about Wittman before the lottery, Grunfeld still stressed that nothing has been finalized but added that the “situation will be resolved well before the draft. We like the job Randy’s done. The players really responded to him. He’s made them accountable. The players respect him. We’re just going through that process.”
Ted Leonsis confirmed that he met with Wittman recently after hearing overwhelming support from players such as John Wall and Nene during the exit interviews. “Everyone thought that Randy did a fantastic job,” Leonsis said, adding that he felt “very, very comfortable” with Wittman.