Washington Wizards hit John Wall jackpot, win No. 1 pick in NBA draft lottery

(Dave Martin - Associated Press)
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By Mike Wise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 20, 2010

The best part was seeing Mrs. P's jaw almost hit the floor. In that surreal, "We won?" moment -- when the widow of the franchise patriarch realized her lonesome-luck Wizards had upset the universe by winning the first pick in the NBA draft lottery -- Irene Pollin no longer resembled an elegant, refined woman from a very influential and wealthy Washington family.

She was more Irene from Ypsilanti on the "The Price is Right," about to faint after wisely underbidding Madge from Scottsdale on the Maytag washer-dryer combo. All that was left was for Bob Barker to say the words she'd been waiting to hear her whole life:

"Irene, you've won the Showcase Showdown!"

Even better, Mrs. P: You won Kentucky's John Wall!

An incomparable young point guard.

Blessed with hops and hubris, his game is straight cash.

John Wall, District bound. Believe that?

"Our fans deserve this," Ernie Grunfeld was saying late Tuesday night over the telephone from Secaucus, N.J., where the team president knew the news almost a full 90 minutes before Mrs. Pollin, because of the NBA's secretive format. "We had such high expectations and they went through a very tough time. For a long time at the lottery, they had no luck at all. And even when they had good luck, they had bad luck because Kwame Brown was the number one pick. So this is very exciting.

"Was I shocked?" he added. "Yes, I was very shocked."

It was unclear whether bad karma was merely bored or just lazy. Or whether the game's gods finally took abject pity upon the Wizards' sorry existence. Or both. Either way, the Wizards won the NBA draft lottery on Tuesday night, which means they won the right to select the most breathtaking player in college basketball last season.

John Wall is but 19 years old, spindly, wiry, not the beefiest or tallest point guard in the draft.

But he can hit the three-point bomb with aplomb, play "D" and dunk on anybody. And with all due respect to Ohio State's Evan Turner, the presumptive No. 2 pick, Wall is also a surefire No. 1 pick next month as Washington rebuilds to kick off the Leonsis era.

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