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2016 NBA Draft Lottery Preview: What if the Wizards win a Top-3 pick?

The Wizards beat the odds in 2010 to get John Wall. They'll need a bit more luck to get another number one pick this year.
The Wizards beat the odds in 2010 to get John Wall. They'll need a bit more luck to get another number one pick this year.
Jeff Gentner/Getty Images

The Wizards barely missed the playoffs, so they have made the NBA Draft Lottery. Since they were 41-41, it's not very realistic to expect them to have a top pick in the draft, but you never know.

Where and When

Tuesday, May 17, 8 p.m. ET in New York City.



Who is representing the Wizards?

Zachary Leonsis. He runs Monumental Sports Network, the web property that handles the digital media for the team. His dad's name is Theodore, the guy who runs the Phone Booth.

What are the Wizards' chances for a top pick?

Washington has a 0.6 percent chance of winning the first pick, a 0.7 percent chance of winning the second pick, and a 0.9 percent chance of winning the third pick.

They have a 96 percent chance of winning the 13th pick ,and a 1.8 percent chance of winning the 14th pick should the Chicago Bulls sneak into the Top-3 while the Wizards don't. If the Wizards have the 13th or 14th pick, it will go to the Phoenix Suns as part of a trade that brought Markieff Morris to D.C.

Okay, why are you even writing this when there is nearly a 98 percent chance that this is ka-plooey?

The Wizards could still get lucky. Remember the Orlando Magic in 1993? They won the number one pick in the Draft despite having just a 1.52 percent shot to do so.

They drafted Chris Webber with that pick, then traded him to the Golden State Warriors for the number three pick Penny Hardaway, plus three first round picks.

Like Kevin Garnett once said, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!!

What should the Wizards do if they get a Top-3 pick?

It sounds cliché, but they can either draft a player to add to their roster or they can use that pick to facilitate a trade. Some of the players Washington could select within the Top-3 include:

  • Brandon Ingram, F, Duke
  • Ben Simmons, F, LSU
  • Dragan Bender, F, Croatia
  • Jamal Murray, G, Kentucky
  • Buddy Hield, G, Oklahoma

Though it never hurts to have a Top-3 pick in any year, this year's draft class doesn't appear to be as deep as last season's let alone a star-studded group like 2003 or 1996. Therefore, it's at least as likely that the Wizards may use this pick as a trade chip for a veteran player.

During the Ernie Grunfeld Era of GM'ing (2003-present), the Wizards have traded a lottery pick two times in order to obtain a veteran player.

In 2004, the Wizards drafted Devin Harris with the fifth overall pick but traded him, Jerry Stackhouse, and Christian Laettner to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Antawn Jamison, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year. In Washington, Jamison made two All-Star Game appearances and is one of the best Wizards players in recent memory. The Jamison trade is an example of a great move involving the use of a high draft pick.

In 2009, the Wizards traded the fifth overall pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Mike Miller and Randy Foye, both of whom were solid role players. The rationale behind the trade at the time was that the Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, and Jamison trio needed veteran help and none of the picks in the Draft were ready to make an impact right away.

From hindsight, the 2009-10 season was a disaster, Foye and Miller left for other teams the next season and the seventh pick in that Draft developed into a two-time NBA MVP a few years down the line. That was a bad trade even without considering how good Stephen Curry would become.

Jake and Alan discussed in our most recent podcast that if the Wizards have a Top-3 pick, they will likely try to trade it. I agree. Considering that most of the top picks in the Draft already play positions where the Wizards have a key veteran player, it's unlikely that they'd want to have a high pick sit more time on the bench than he has to. In addition, the pressure's on this offseason for them to get back into more than just "playoff-form."

Final Takeaways

Expect the Suns to get the Wizards pick tonight. There is a nearly 98 percent chance that that happens.

But again, miracles do happen:

If they do tonight, it will be an unexpected Christmas present for sure.