Lottery simulation: Who's the best Wizards fit at No. 10?

Bennedict Mathurin

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. 10 overall pick...

Lottery simulation results

It took us one try on Tankathon's lottery simulation to get the Wizards the No. 10 overall pick. They have a 65.9-percent chance at landing the 10th pick. It's their most-likely outcome in this year's lottery. In this scenario, the Wizards pick 10th with the Kings picking first and the Trail Blazers and Spurs picking right before the Wizards. 

The point of this exercise is to create a hypothetical board for the Wizards and evaluate their options. In this case, where they pick 10th overall, they'll miss out on the top prospects but will still have plenty of talented players to pick from.


Lottery simulation mock draft

1. Kings: Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga)

Jabari Smith Jr. is probably the safest and smartest pick for the Kings here, but it's hard to imagine this franchise passing on a prospect with the kind of upside Holmgren has. 

2. Pelicans (via Lakers): Jabari Smith Jr. (Auburn)

After pushing the Suns in the first round without Zion Williamson, the Pelicans get arguably the best player in this year's class to vault themselves into the contention conversation in the Western Conference.

3. Rockets: Paolo Banchero (Duke)

The Rockets have a ton of talent in the backcourt with Jalen Green, so getting a potential two-way star in Banchero would be a nice addition for a team trying to build something special again. 

4. Pistons: Jaden Ivey (Purdue)

Jaden Ivey has the potential to be an elite lead guard, but his fit alongside Cade Cunningham, where he'd be able to develop off the ball, would be ideal for everyone involved.

5. Magic: Keegan Murray (Iowa)

The Magic have a decent core centered around Franz Wagner, Wendell Carter Jr., Cole Anthony and Jalen Suggs. One more wing with star potential could be the final piece they need as we wait for Jonathan Isaac to return from injury.

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. Pacers: AJ Griffin (Duke)

Tyrese Haliburton is probably the only Pacers player locked into his role long-term, so the Pacers should be in talent acquisition mode. Griffin certainly has a ton of talent.

8. Trail Blazers: Jalen Duren (Memphis)

Duren is an upside play in this draft, but has the physical tools to fill a rim-running, shot-blocking role right away. The Blazers need an injection of frontcourt defense and Duren could be a perfect fit.

9. Spurs: Jeremy Sochan (Baylor)

Sochan is an incredibly versatile defender and has the potential to be a two-way player if he can develop a jump shot. The Spurs are a good bet for player development, too.

10. Wizards: Bennedict Mathurin (Arizona)

If the Wizards stick at 10, they won't be able to address their need at point guard with a great prospect, so they might as well take the best player available. Mathurin has some questions regarding his defense and playmaking, but he's a knockdown shooter with some off-the-dribble juice that could make him a potent scorer in the NBA. 

Plus, most of his playmaking warts come from trying too many high-risk passes. If he can defend well enough to get on the floor and take a more reserved approach as a passer, the Wizards could end up with an exciting two-way player. 

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 (via Clippers): Jaden Hardy (Ignite)

With an extra first-round pick from the Clippers, the Thunder take another flier on a player with high upside in Jaden Hardy. 

13. Hornets: Tari Eason (LSU)

Eason is known for his competitiveness and tendency to do the "little things" on the court. For all the talent the Hornets have, they could use more players like Eason. 

14. Cavaliers: Ochai Agbaji (Kansas)

Cleveland showed they're a lot closer to contending than perceived before the season started, and in Agbaji they would get a solid and smart two-guard who could contribute right away.

What would it mean for the Wizards?

The Wizards would likely miss out on the stars of this draft class if they end up with their initial lottery standing. Still, it'd be hard to come away from a draft disappointed with a player like Mathurin. There are plenty of players in the 7-15 range with a ton of upside, but they just need fine-tuning in the right situation. 

If the Wizards play things right with the 10th pick, they can still come away with a star, we just won't find out immediately like we would if they landed Smith Jr., Holmgren or Banchero.