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After losing out in NBA draft lottery, Wizards' best option is to trade back

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USA TODAY SPORTS

After losing out in NBA draft lottery, Wizards' best option is to trade back

Despite their fair share of bad luck over the years, the Washington Wizards have generally found good fortune at the NBA Draft lottery. But that was far from the case on Tuesday night in Chicago, as they fell from sixth to ninth and basically landed their worst-case scenario.

Though they technically could have picked as low as 10th, their odds of doing so were less than one percent. Ninth was the worst realistic option. They had only a 3.8 percent chance of landing there, yet sure enough that is where they fell.

Now that they will have no chance at the top prospects like Zion Williamson or Ja Morant, the Wizards' best bet is to trade back and acquire more picks. They only have one pick in this year's draft and do not own one in the second round until 2023. 

They need more draft assets for a variety of reasons. For one, they are in a difficult salary cap situation where they lack cheap, high-upside players. The best way to find those is in the draft.

Also, they are set to hire a new team president, one that will likely want to put his fingerprints on the roster. It will be hard to do so without more picks to work with.

And this year's draft is considered very top heavy. Beyond Williamson, Morant and R.J. Barrett, there is not a ton of depth. There may not be much separating the ninth-best prospect from, say, the 13th.

Also, recent history has shown that teams do not have to move back far to stock up. Last year, the Hawks went from third to fifth and picked up a first round pick from the Mavericks. 

The Sixers went from 10th to 16th and got an unprotected 2021 first round pick from the Heat by way of the Suns. Also last year, the Hornets went back just one spot from 11th to 12th and got two second round picks.

The Kings have made a living off the practice. In 2017, they went back from 10th and got both the 15th and 20th picks from the Blazers. In 2016, Sacramento traded back from eighth and got two first round picks - 13th and 28th - as well as a 2020 second round pick and the draft rights to Bogdan Bogdanovic, who was a 2014 first round pick and has turned into a solid pro.

There are plenty of teams that could package a pick this year and a future asset to move up, but also a few that have multiple 2019 first round picks that could strike a deal with Washington. The Boston Celtics have the 14th, 20th and 22nd picks. The Brooklyn Nets own the 17th and the 27th picks this year. 

Trading back isn't something the Wizards have usually done. Former team president Ernie Grunfeld didn't once trade back in the first round in his 16 years with the team. He traded first round picks away for veterans and once traded up to get Kelly Oubre Jr. in 2015, but he never traded back in the first for more picks.

Those types of deals also don't usually happen until draft night. The Wizards will likely want to see how the board shakes out on June 20 before making a deal. Maybe someone like De'Andre Hunter of Virginia or Cam Reddish of Duke unexpectedly drops and they can't pass up the opportunity to take them.

But all it takes is one team to fall in love with a player that is out of their reach. If the Wizards find one of those teams, they should see what they can get in return.

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Taking more threes is imperative for Wizards' stalled offense as they face Bucks

Taking more threes is imperative for Wizards' stalled offense as they face Bucks

The Wizards remain winless in the NBA's restart bubble through six games now and that has left them only two opportunities to secure a victory or otherwise leave Orlando with no more wins than when they arrived. Keep in mind they haven't won an organized basketball game in five months.

The playoffs are an impossibility and it has all been about player development, anyways. But surely they would feel a lot better about themselves with at least one victory.

The big problem is their final two games are against really good teams; the Bucks and Celtics. They will start with the Bucks on Tuesday night at 9 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

Milwaukee will be a major challenge for the Wizards and not just because they have the best record in the East and arguably the best player in the game, Giannis Antetokounmpo. They happen to have the best defense in the NBA and the Wizards' most glaring issue in the bubble has been a lack of scoring.

It was predictable they would struggle offensively once it was revealed Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans would not be joining them in the bubble. The two are their top scorers and combine to average 45.9 points per game. But the drop-off in offense for the Wizards has been staggering.

Of the 22 teams in Orlando, the Wizards are 21st in points (105), 20th in offensive rating (102.9), 21st in field goal percentage (43.5) and 19th in three point percentage (32.3). The volume isn't there from the perimeter, either, as the Wizards rank 21st in both threes made (9/g) and attempted (27.8/g).

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They are missing nine points from their season average on three-pointers made(12). Given they are averaging 9.7 fewer points in Orlando than they do on the season as a whole, that seems noteworthy.

Thomas Bryant has been their best scorer in terms of volume and efficiency. He's averaging 18.3 points while shooting 50.3 percent from the field. Troy Brown Jr. has also been good with 16.3 points and 5.0 assists per game. And Jerome Robinson is averaging 15.5 points while shooting 37.8 percent from three.

Collectively, it hasn't been enough to replace the production missing with Beal and Bertans out. Those guys are particularly good at making threes and their removal from the lineup has deprived the Wizards' offense of space.

As good as the Bucks are defensively, though, they might present a chance for the Wizards to have a breakout game from long range. Milwaukee allows more three per game (14) than any other team.

They also give up a league-high 39.5 three point attempts per game. Teams shoot 36.5 percent on threes against them, which only ranks 14th, but is still a high clip. Beal shot 35.3 percent on threes this season, for comparison.

The Wizards should be able to take more threes against the Bucks if they want to.  If a few fall early, maybe they can ride the wave to a better offensive game. If not, it could be another long night.

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NBA draft lottery 2020 to be held virtually amid coronavirus pandemic

NBA draft lottery 2020 to be held virtually amid coronavirus pandemic

The NBA offseason arrives later this week and will speed up soon not long after with the Aug. 20 draft lottery, which will be held virtually this year.

The news it is being held virtually, which was first reported by the Athletic, was a fairly obvious expectation. All 14 teams participating will do so remotely via a video feed. That's the way many events are being held amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Wizards have the ninth-best odds in this year's lottery. That gives them a 4.5 percent chance at the No. 1 overall pick and a 20.2 chance to select in the top four.

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The top eight teams in the lottery are the Warriors, Cavs, Timberwolves, Hawks, Pistons, Knicks, Bulls and Hornets. The Warriors, Cavs and Timberwolves are tied for the best odds to get the No. 1 pick.

There is no consensus top player in this draft. Mock drafts have rotated through a few players at the top. The big names include James Wiseman, Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball.

The Wizards will need some luck to move up and have a chance to get one of them.

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