It's really not that bad, guys. I promise.
So, yes, the Wizards got the sixth pick in the 2011 NBA Draft lottery. Sixth is practically the worst the Wizards could do, since there was less than a two percent chance they'd pick seventh. It's also a tremendously weak draft, and sixth is home of the unknown and the reach. But really, this isn't that bad.
We have to keep perspective here. As disgrunted said last night, the Wizards won the lottery last year, and that was a much stronger draft. Would you really prefer to have the third pick in back-to-back years (Derrick Favors and, say, Brandon Knight), or John Wall and the sixth pick? Heck, would you trade Wall straight up for Favors and Knight? I wouldn't. So first thing's first, count your blessings.
Also - this draft is a huge unknown. I've always said that you can't judge a draft's talent until after you see things play out, but it's clear that teams' draft boards from 3-10 will look very different. Derrick Williams was frankly the only sure thing for the Wizards, since Kyrie Irving is essentially out of the picture. From there on down? Every single pick had major question marks. Ernie Grunfeld was already going to have to do his homework big time with this draft. Now? He'll still have to do his homework, albeit with fewer options.
And speaking of Grunfeld: this year's draft is where he will be judged. We talked earlier about how this year's draft would make or break the rebuild. It still does, unequivocally. So by extension, this year's draft will likely seal Grunfeld's fate as this team's executive going forward. Grunfeld's repaired his reputation this year with some shrewd moves, but that was the easy part. This year's draft will provide an immediate (well, not quite immediate, but still, an easy and clear) answer on whether Grunfeld is the right man to lead the rebuilding effort.
In a way, I am happy that he will have the chance to prove himself. Every great team needs good management, and you can't get lucky forever. I feel comforted by the fact that Grunfeld will truly be able to show whether he has the chops sooner rather than later. Talent evaluation is such an important part of this league, and the Wizards need to find out if they have the right talent evaluators in place.
Here's hoping Grunfeld earns his paycheck.