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2019 NBA Draft Simulation: How the Wizards end up with Jaxon Hayes at No. 9

2019 NBA Draft Simulation: How the Wizards end up with Jaxon Hayes at No. 9

The NBA Draft is less than a month away, which means rumors overpower truth, and there's about a million scenarios that could impact the Wizards at No. 9 on June 20. 

Since the Wizards don't have a GM yet, I'll do the honors of deciding who they take at that spot based on several draft simulations.

In scenario one, here's who's already off the board:

1. New Orleans - Zion Williamson, PF, Duke
2. Memphis - Ja Morant, PG, Murray State
3. New York - RJ Barrett, SG, Duke
4. Los Angeles - Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech
5. Cleveland - De'Andre Hunter, SF, Virginia
6. Phoenix - Coby White, SG, UNC
7. Chicago - Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
8. Atlanta - Cam Reddish, SF, Duke

With names like Garland, White and Reddish off the board just before the Wizards pick, this leaves us with a couple of different ways to go.

The Wizards can go for the raw upside in Jaxson Hayes, whose rim-running and shot-blocking abilities are something they desperately need at Capital One Arena. 

They also can shoot for a major risk-reward choice, and take 7-2 Bol Bol, who averaged 21 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.7 blocks and shot 57 percent from three-point range, but saw his season end after nine games with a foot injury. Big guys with foot injuries are scary, but big guys who can shoot from 25 feet away are also scary (in a good way).  

There's also the safer route with Brandon Clarke. His 6-8.25 wingspan and 8-6 standing reach was smaller than some guards, but he brings a strong low-post presence and rebounding ability that have drawn comparisons to the Clippers' Montrezl Harrell.

In this case, I'm going with the chance at a little more upside for the Wizards and taking Jaxson Hayes at No. 9.

With Dwight Howard's health still in question and John Wall possibly missing all of next season, the Wizards are in a position where they can develop someone like Hayes, who fills a valuable role in today's NBA.

After Washington ranked 23rd this season in blocks per game and even worse in rebounding at 27th, this pick would fit need and show potential all in one. 

Hayes has a ton of physical tools, but lacks experience. His first start as a basketball player came as a senior in high school, but he grew almost a foot from his freshman year in high school to his freshman year at Texas. 

The chance at a player like this in Washington is just too good to pass up. Hayes is likely to become an fan favorite in D.C.

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John Wall still amazed by his legendary HS mixtape, watches it every night

John Wall still amazed by his legendary HS mixtape, watches it every night

John Wall was a star at the University of Kentucky, the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft and has since become a five-time All-Star for the Wizards. But his most enduring basketball legacy may have been established in high school, when he was the subject of what to this day stands as arguably the most legendary high school mixtape ever.

It was 2009 and right during the rise of YouTube when highlights of Wall went viral in a way that is much more common today. Back then, it was a new phenomenon and that has left Wall with being credited by many for the best and most influential mixtape of all-time.

Wall looked back on that famous video on Friday night with Chris Miller on NBC Sports Washington's 'Wizards Pregame Live.' Even all these years later, Wall is still amazed at the whole experience.

"Everybody says I’ve got the best one," Wall said. "When I look back at myself doing this in high school, I’m like there’s no way a kid 16 or 17 years old is supposed to be doing the things I was doing. I was just super [athletically] advantaged. Thank God for my ability and me just wanting to work hard and be great."

Wall, in fact, says he still watches the video very often. Like, on an everyday basis.

"I watch this every night before I go to bed. I watch it all the time and I just be like ‘there’s no way I was doing this at that age.’ It’s dope for me to see it," Wall said.

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That may surprise some, but keep in mind the place Wall has been for the last two years. He hasn't played in an organized basketball game since December of 2018 thanks to a slew of injuries, most notably a ruptured Achilles he had surgically repaired in February of 2019.

He is also obsessed with the game of basketball in general and says he constantly watches games of all levels and of both men and women's hoops. Maybe watching his old highlights can help Wall return to his previous form once he finally returns to the floor.

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2020 NBA Draft Lottery: Wizards have 9th-best odds for No. 1 pick

2020 NBA Draft Lottery: Wizards have 9th-best odds for No. 1 pick

The Wizards were eliminated from playoff contention during the NBA's restart in Orlando, which also made official their lottery odds, as the teams that missed out on the postseason would draw those odds based on the league standings from March 11, when the league initially shut down.

That puts the Wizards at ninth in the lottery, as they had the ninth-worst record in the NBA at the time. And that means they will have the ninth-most ping-pong balls and a 4.5 percent chance at the No. 1 pick. 

Here is the full breakdown for Washington:

1st - 4.5%
2nd - 4.8%
3rd - 5.2%
4th - 5.7%
5th - N/A
6th - N/A
7th - N/A
8th - N/A
9th - 50.7%
10th - 25.9%
11th - 3.0%
12th - 0.1%
13th - >0.0% 

As you see, the most likely scenario has them picking ninth, which is exactly where they were last summer, as they dropped from sixth in the lottery. They took Rui Hachimura out of Gonzaga University, which has worked out well for them so far.

Another way to look at it is this: they have a 20.2 percent chance to pick in the top-four and a 79.8 percent likelihood to select in the 9-to-13 range. They also have a 76.6 percent chance to pick either ninth or 10th.

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This draft class is unusual in that there does not appear to be a clear-cut prize at the top. Unlike last year with Zion Williamson and Ja Morant, there do not appear to be any pre-draft phenoms.

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That said, there is still plenty of talent. Some of the best prospects include center James Wiseman, point guard LaMelo Ball, combo guard Anthony Edwards and wing Deni Avdija.

This class may prove to be deep, just not top-heavy. And that could alter the perception of the lottery, in that the difference between picking fourth and ninth may not be as significant as it is in most other years.

Still, it is always better to get a higher pick and now the Wizards will have to work with the odds they have received.

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