If Wizards get 3rd or 4th pick, LaMelo Ball is the player to watch


NBC Sports Washington is looking at four different scenarios for the Wizards as they prepare for Thursday night's draft lottery; the No. 1 pick, picks 2-4, picks 9-10 and picks 11-13. Using Tankathon's draft lottery simulator, we ran the numbers 50 times and made projections...

The scenario: Wizards land either the 2nd, 3rd or 4th pick

Real odds: 15.7% (4.8% for No. 2, 5.2% for No. 3, 5.7% for No. 4)

Tankathon simulation: 12 out of 50 draws (five times at No. 2, four times at No. 3, three times at No. 4)

Outlook: As we wrote yesterday to begin this lottery scenarios series, two players stand out above the rest for the Wizards. If they land the No. 1 pick, it will probably become a decision between James Wiseman of Memphis and Anthony Edwards of Georgia. The same applies if they were to get the second pick, as whichever player is left would be the favorite to land in Washington.

Where things would get really interesting for the Wizards is if they get the third pick. Point guard LaMelo Ball is most commonly considered the third-best prospect in this class, but he also plays the same position as John Wall, whom the Wizards have a made a sizable investment in.



In addition to Ball, the Wizards would likely consider a group that includes Deni Avdija of Israel, Tyrese Haliburton of Iowa State and Onyeka Okongu of USC. The two wild cards would be Obi Toppin of Dayton and Killian Hayes of France, as there is some mystery involving the draft stock of both players. Some evaluators think they are top-five prospects, while others have them going around the 10th pick or later.

In a nutshell, if the Wizards pick second, it's probably between Wiseman and Edwards. If they pick third or fourth, there are a lot of possibilities.

The picks: Let's do this one-by-one, in order. If the Wizards get the No. 2 pick, the early favorite would be Wiseman. There seems to be more momentum for Edwards to be the first overall pick, no matter which team draws the lucky ping pong ball. If that were to happen, the Wizards would be thrilled with the best big man in the draft falling into their lap.

If the Wizards get the third pick, it could be a situation where you hope either Wiseman or Edwards fall and, if not, take a long look at Ball. He appears to have very high upside as a big point guard with rare gifts as a passer and ball-handler. It wouldn't be an ideal fit for him to join a team with Wall already on it, but the Wizards could figure out a way to make it work. Plus, they should probably favor the best player available no matter what, given Wall is coming off a serious injury.

If the Wizards get the fourth pick, and Wiseman, Edwards and Ball are gone, Haliburton and Okongwu would probably make the most sense, unless they see Hayes as the next James Harden and too enticing to pass up.

Haliburton looks like a fairly safe bet for the top-five, no matter how it shakes out. He is the most versatile player in the draft, a play-making wing who can pass, rebound, shoot and defend. Okongwu is not listed as often in the top-five in mock drafts, but his ability to block shots and rebound would make a perfect fit for the Wizards. 

Haliburton, though, looks like he would be the best player on the board if the Wizards are selecting fourth. So, the pick is Haliburton.

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