Lottery simulation: What if Wizards get the No. 2 pick?

Chet Holmgren

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 the ping pong balls could fall for Washington. They have the 10th-best odds, which gives them a 13.9-percent chance of picking in the top four and 86.1% odds of selecting 10th, 11th or 12. 

We will go through each scenario one by one, and today we'll move on to the scenario where the Wizards land the No. 2 overall pick...

Lottery simulation results

It took us 22 tries on Tankathon's lottery simulation to get the Wizards the No. 2 overall pick. They only have a 3.3-percent chance of picking first overall, so it would require some serious luck. In this scenario, the Wizards pick second with the Magic picking first and the Pacers, Pistons and Rockets rounding out the top five. The Wizards moved up eight spots to get No. 2, while the Rockets dropped four spots from the best lottery position to the fifth overall pick. 

The point of this exercise is to create a hypothetical board for the Wizards and evaluate their options. In this case, where they pick second overall, they can select nearly any player they want in the draft. Needless to say, it would be an ideal situation.


Lottery simulation mock draft

1. Magic: Jabari Smith Jr. (Auburn)

There isn't a consensus yet for the first overall pick, but the favorite as of now is Smith Jr. thanks to his size, skill and potential to turn into an elite, two-way force as a wing. The Magic, who have a bevy of big men already, opt for Smith Jr. over Holmgren in this scenario. If the Wizards end up with the No. 1 pick, Smith Jr. would be the best option for them as well.

2. Wizards: Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga)

Getting the No. 2 pick would put the Wizards in an interesting spot. They could look at their need for a point guard and target Jaden Ivey or opt for the best player on the board. At this point, that player is Holmgren, who would create a bit of a unicorn log jam on the Wizards' roster with Kristaps Porzingis

However, the pick here is still Holmgren. General manager Tommy Sheppard has insisted the team will target the best player available with their pick regardless of need, so Porzingis' presence on the roster should not change that line of thinking.

The seven-footer averaged roughly 14 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks as a freshman at Gonzaga while shooting 60% from the floor and 39% from three on decent volume. Holmgren has a chance to be a generational talent as a big man with rare two-way versatility. When those kinds of players are available, you simply take them and sort the rest out later. 

3. Pacers: Jaden Ivey (Purdue)

The Pacers already have Tyrese Haliburton on the roster, but Ivey would be a great complement as a score-first type alongside a playmaking savant in Haliburton. 

4. Pistons: Paolo Banchero (Duke)

Big, two-way wings are the most valuable asset in the NBA, and the Pistons already have a few in Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey and Jerami Grant. Why not take another with a bit of All-Star potential?

5. Rockets: Keegan Murray (Iowa)

The Rockets add Murray to an already exciting young core featuring Jalen Green, who averaged over 22 points per game through the last month of his rookie year.

6. Thunder: Shaedon Sharpe (Kentucky)

Sharpe has star potential, he just needs some time to develop. The Thunder have no desire to win any time soon, so he'll have plenty of time to polish his skills in OKC.

7. Trail Blazers: A.J. Griffin (Duke)

The Blazers need to be in talent acquisition mode, and Griffin certainly has a ton of talent. 


8. Kings: Bennedict Mathurin (Arizona)

The Kings haven't made the playoffs since 2006, so they might as well take a big swing on a player like Mathurin, who has the tools to become a star two-way wing if developed correctly.

9. Pelicans: TyTy Washington (Kentucky)

The Pelicans probably still need a bit more guard depth and take Washington as a player who could develop into a star as CJ McCollum rides the back-end of his prime in New Orleans. 

10. Spurs: Jalen Duren (Memphis)

The Spurs need some more size and rim protection and could take a swing on Duren as the youngest player in the draft. They did the same thing with Josh Primo a year ago.

11: Knicks: Johnny Davis (Wisconsin)

Davis is a bucket-getter, plain and simple. While the Knicks could use more playmaking to help Julius Randle get better looks out on the floor, Davis provides value as a big, two-way guard. 

12: Thunder: Bennedict Mathurin (Arizona)

The Thunder went wing with their first pick and go wing again here, showcasing how important it is to have two-way versatility in the postseason. 

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?

While getting the second pick and Chet Holmgren would likely trigger a few tough decisions for the front office, it's nearly an ideal scenario for a Wizards team that's been hovering around the bottom of the East's playoff picture for four years now. 

Would Holmgren mean a combination of Porzingis, Daniel Gafford or Rui Hachimura would have to get traded to free up minutes for the young big man? Probably, but if Holmgren lives up to his potential nobody is going to think twice about what it took to get him to that point. 

There's plenty of risk associated with Holmgren. His size and slender frame could prove to hinder him against stronger bigs in the NBA and historically, bigs who play like guards don't tend to stay healthy. Just take a look at Porzingis' injury history to get an idea. Those factors paint a picture for why Jabari Smith Jr. would probably be the better pick between the two, but in this case he's off the board so it's next-best-player available for Washington.