As Michael Lee wrote this morning, the NBA draft lottery is beginning to feel like the first stop on the road to redemption for floundering, down-on-their-luck franchises. A year ago it was the Wizards who finally found good fortune and earned the right to draft John Wall, and Tuesday night in New Jersey, the tortured fans of Cleveland were rewarded with the No. 1 overall pick despite meager 2.8 percent odds of hitting the jackpot.
With 11.9 percent odds to land the top pick, the Wizards hoped to get lucky once again, but really, with the draft history of this franchise, is anyone surprised they fell to No. 6?
Of course the end of the draft lottery means the beginning of mock draft hysteria. So who are the so-called experts projecting for the Wizards’ two first-round picks (sixth and 18th overall)?
While Duke point guard Kyrie Irving is considered a near no-brainer for the Cavaliers at No. 1, the projections for the Wizards are all over the place. The only consensus seems to be what has been abundantly clear over the last several seasons: They need help at the forward/center position.
• ESPN’s Chad Ford has Washington taking 6-7 San Diego State small forward Kawhi Leonard at No. 6, a player Ford says can help the Wizards “begin to change their image as a soft, defenseless team.” Then at No. 18, Ford projects Washington State point guard Klay Thompson who could provide much-needed outside shooting in the backcourt.
• At NBA.com, David Aldridge is mocking out of protest, but likes the Wizards to grab Kansas power forward/center Markieff Morris with the sixth pick and Latvian Davis Bertans at No. 18 (if they don’t use this pick to trade up).
• NBA.com’s Scott Howard-Cooper likes Washington to tap into the international market at No. 6 with power forward Bismack Biyombo from Congo — whose age is...yet to be determined. Biyombo and JaVale McGee would make quite the formidable shot-blocking one-two punch in the paint. At No. 18, Howard-Cooper projects another PF, Georgia’s Trey Thompkins.
• Ben Golliver from CBS Sports also sees Kawhi Leonard as a solid choice at No. 6 and has the Wizards taking Morehead State power forward Kenneth Faried at No. 18 to help improve the team’s presence on the boards.
• Dave Del Grande from CBS Sports likes center Jan Vesely of the Czech Republic at No. 6 and he’s not alone.
• SBNation has Washington selecting Biyombo at No. 6 at Klay Thompson at No. 18.
Who would you like to see the Wizards draft with their first pick? Should they focus on the power forward/center position or look for a reliable perimeter scorer? Or should they try to trade up to grab a more enticing prospect?
More coverage from the 2011 NBA draft lottery
Tracee Hamilton: Nick Gilbert offers everyone a lesson in what luck’s all about
Early Lead: Is the NBA draft lottery fixed?
Photo Gallery: Cavs win the jackpot