Lottery simulation: What if Wizards get the No. 4 pick?


The Wizards are back in the NBA draft lottery, set for May 17, which means we at NBC Sports Washington are rediscovering the fun of Tankathon. It's a great website that has many features, but one in particular that is especially addicting. You can simulate the lottery, all with the click of a button.

It's so much fun we thought we would turn it into a series on the Wizards and run through all of their draft lottery scenarios. There are essentially seven different ways things could go for Washington. They have the 10th-best odds, which gives them a 13.9% chance of picking top-4 and 86.1% odds of selecting 10th, 11th or 12. 

As we go through each scenario one-by-one, today we consider what would happen if they landed the No. 4 overall pick...

Lottery simulation results

While it took 20 tries to get the Wizards the No. 1 pick in the first part of our series, it took 30 simulations to land them the fourth overall pick. The odds for both are similar, with the Wizards holding a slightly higher likelihood of picking fourth (4%) compared to first (3%). 

In this simulation, the Wizards are picking fourth behind the Kings, Pacers and Pistons. Directly behind the Wizards are the Rockets, Magic and Thunder. So, this would be quite the shakeup as the Kings would move up six spots to pick first while the Rockets, Magic and Thunder would go from having top-4 odds to the fifth, sixth and seventh overall picks.


What we're trying to do here is create a mock draft board for the Wizards to examine what their choice could look like on draft night. If they picked fourth, the Wizards would have a shot at one of the best players in this draft, they would just have to wait and see who is still available.

Lottery simulation mock draft

1. Kings: Jabari Smith Jr. (Auburn)

As bad as they have been, the Kings haven't won the lottery since 1989, so in this case they would land the best player in the draft, Jabari Smith Jr., who would complement Domantas Sabonis well in their frontcourt.

2. Pacers: Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga)

Holmgren would land in an ideal situation for him with a rising star at point guard in Tyrese Haliburton and with the potential to form the best shot-blocking tandem in the league alongside Myles Turner.

3. Pistons: Paolo Banchero (Duke)

Banchero would join up with Cade Cunningham and Saddiq Bey to give the Pistons a very high-ceiling offensive trio and allow Detroit to ultimately replace Jerami Grant at the four.

4. Wizards: Jaden Ivey (Purdue)

While the Wizards would love to get the No. 1 overall pick, landing anywhere in the top-4 would be a home run for them. Most evaluators see this draft as having an established top tier of four players and this would give the Wizards a chance to draft whomever is left among them. In this case, they are on the clock with Smith Jr., Holmgren and Banchero already gone. That would likely leave them with a choice between Ivey (Purdue), Keegan Murray (Iowa), Shaedon Sharpe (Kentucky) and A.J. Griffin (Duke). 

While all of those options would have their selling points, and the very high long-term ceilings of Sharpe and Griffin in particular would have to be considered, Ivey would make a lot of sense. While selecting this high should always be about best player available over needs, the Wizards could accomplish both with Ivey.

Ivey would fit like a glove with the Wizards, who have a need at point guard and, even though he's more of a combo guard, would be able to justify starting him right away next to Bradley Beal. Ivey is an exceptional athlete at 6-foot-4 with the ability to fly past and over college defenses. He has shades of Ja Morant and prime Victor Oladipo in his game and the type of quick-twitch motor that makes him a safe bet to be a really good player at the next level.

The questions would be what position he plays long term as he likely projects more as a shooting guard initially, and what he can ultimately become on the defensive end. At this stage, he has a knack for jumping passing lanes and chasedown blocks, but will have to do more than that to be a competent defender.

5. Rockets: Shaedon Sharpe (Kentucky)

The Rockets go with Sharpe's star potential to add upside at the wing alongside Jalen Green and Alperen Sengun, knowing they have time to wait for him to reach his ceiling.


6. Magic: Keegan Murray (Iowa)

The Magic have made a habit out of drafting based on raw potential, but in Murray they would get a plug-and-play stretch-4 who will be 22 when the season opens and is one of the most polished players in the draft.

7. Thunder: A.J. Griffin (Duke)

Griffin has a chance to be a dynamic two-way player and in this case would land in the ideal spot to develop in OKC's system.

8. Blazers: Jalen Duren (Memphis)

Duren would give the Blazers an athletic big man to grow alongside guards Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons.

9. Pelicans: Bennedict Mathurin (Arizona)

Mathurin on the Pelicans would be all kinds of fun, especially if Zion Williamson plays for them again, as he is also a poster threat at all times.

10. Spurs: Johnny Davis (Wisconsin)

The Spurs have a nice nucleus of young talent and a lot of athletes, so Davis would fit in well as a player who can help right away as a glue guy and over time develop into a standout scorer.

11: Knicks: TyTy Washington (Kentucky)

With Immanuel Quickley already in the mix, New York would go back to Kentucky for another guard and hope Washington could help improve their struggling offense over time.

12: Thunder: Dyson Daniels (G-League Ignite)

Daniels has some similarities to Giddey as a tall, methodical point guard with a great feel for the game and concerns about his shooting, but he would be hard to pass up at 12.

13: Hornets: Tari Eason (LSU)

Eason would give the Hornets a high-upside wing defender who could be an ideal complement to LaMelo Ball and Charlotte's emerging high-powered offense.

14: Cavaliers: Ochai Agbaji (Kansas)

Cleveland showed this season they are closer to contending than many thought they were and in Agbaji they would get a solid and smart two-guard who could contribute right away.

What would it mean for the Wizards?

A top-4 pick in the lottery would give the Wizards an excellent opportunity to add a future star to their roster. In this scenario, they would get a guard in Ivey who could someday develop into a three-level scorer and franchise player. They would likely place him right into the starting lineup that as of now would look like this: Ivey, Beal, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma and Kristaps Porzingis. The overall talent and the variety of scorers would give the Wizards a chance to have one of the better offenses in the NBA.

Ivey would join Beal in the Wizards' backcourt at just 20 years old and right as Beal is expected to begin a five-year contract. Early on, Ivey could learn from Beal, who like him was a top pick and scoring guard of similar size. Over time, Ivey could take on a larger role and ultimately have the torch passed as the face of the franchise.


In the short-term, Ivey would make the Wizards a must-see team with his lighting quick first step and ability to play above the rim. They would have his explosive athleticism next to Beal's elite scoring, Caldwell-Pope's steady 3-point shooting, Kuzma's all-around game and the marvel that is the 'Unicorn.' The Wizards would add some excitement and the potential to become a much better team in the years ahead.

More from our Wizards Lottery Simulator series:

What if they get the No. 1 pick?

What if they get the No. 2 pick?

What if they get the No. 3 pick?