Due to the Western Conference being vastly superior to the East, the Wizards are technically still alive in the playoff race despite four teams that have been eliminated holding better records than them. There are 10 total teams with 'E' next to them in the standings and the Wizards are sure to join them very soon.
It could happen on Wednesday night, as Washington's tragic number is just one. If they lose to the Phoenix Suns (10 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington), that will be it, officially.
If it were to happen against the Suns, it would be fitting as the Wizards would join them in the group that is racing to the bottom, angling for draft lottery position. The Wizards woke up on Wednesday with the seventh-best odds, meaning they would have a seven percent chance at the No. 1 pick and a 31.9 percent chance at one in the top four if the season ended now.
Though some fans have been rooting for the Wizards' lottery odds for a while already, soon it will be the most pertinent goal. And after losing five straight, Washington has a chance to improve their chances with seven games remaining.
They are only a half-game 'behind' the Dallas Mavericks and three games from the Atlanta Hawks. Though Atlanta has been among the worst teams all season, they have won three straight and just might have the tools to hurt their draft position.
Wizards vs. Suns on Wednesday would normally be a reunion of former players and a chance to revisit the December trade between the teams that sent Trevor Ariza to Washington and Kelly Oubre Jr. to Phoenix. But both players are hurt with Oubre done for the year and Ariza battling a nagging groin injury. We know Oubre won't play and Ariza probably won't, either.
Beyond the draft lottery odds implications, the match-up to watch is Bradley Beal vs. Devin Booker. They are two of the NBA's best shooting guards and both have been on fire lately. Booker dropped 59 against the Jazz in his last game and has averaged 33.9 points in his last 10 outings. Beal had 32 vs. the Lakers on Tuesday and is averaging 28.8 points since the All-Star break.
Beal has established himself as a two-time All-Star and could make All-NBA this season for the first time. Booker, just 22 years old, is not far behind.
Both the Wizards and Suns will be aiming to add talent around their star shooting guards this offseason. Wednesday could help bring into focus for the Wizards exactly what they will be working with come draft night.
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