With their 118-102 victory over the Boston Celtics in the season finale, the Wizards matched the Brooklyn Nets at 44-38 and moved into the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference by virtue of winning the tiebreaker because of sweeping the regular season series, 3-0.
But on Friday, the NBA held a random drawing to determine the selection order in the 2014 NBA Draft and the Wizards lost a tiebreaker to Brooklyn. Washington will now choose 18th while the Nets were awarded the 17th pick.
Not that it matters much. The Wizards traded their first-round pick in late October to Phoenix, along with Emeka Okafor’s expiring contract, in a deal to acquire center Marcin Gortat. Gortat will be an unrestricted free agent this summer but played a huge role in helping the franchise reach the playoffs for the first time since 2008. He posted 37 double-doubles and led the Wizards in rebounds (9.5) and blocked shots (1.5).
The positive side of losing the first-round tiebreaker is that the Wizards will get the higher second-round choice, which will be No. 46. The Nets’ first-round pick is headed to the Boston Celtics as part of a deal last summer that involved Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce moving to Brooklyn.
Washington has had a lottery pick each of the previous five seasons. It shipped the first pick to Minnesota as part of a multiple-player deal for Mike Miller and Randy Foye in 2009, drafted John Wall first overall in 2010, Jan Vesely sixth overall in 2011, Bradley Beal third overall in 2012 and Otto Porter Jr. last June. Vesely was dealt to Denver last February in a trade for Andre Miller.
The Wizards haven’t entered June without a first-round pick since 2005, when the Denver Nuggets used the 20th pick to select Julius Hodge from North Carolina State. Denver got the choice from Orlando, which got Washington’s 2005 pick and Laron Profit in exchange for Brendan Haywood.
The Milwaukee Bucks, who picked first in 2005, have the best odds at winning the draft lottery (25 percent) after finishing the season 15-67.