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. We ran the lottery numbers 50 times and made projections...
The scenario: Wizards land either the 11th, 12th or 13th pick
Real odds: 3.1% (3.0 for 11th, 0.1 for 12th, >0.0 for 13th)
Simulation: 0 out of 50 draws
Outlook: If the Wizards were to land either the 11th, 12th or 13th pick it would represent a terrible turn of luck, as the odds of it happening are just over three percent. It is not often you see teams fall that far in the lottery, but the Wizards do know what it's like. Last year, they had the sixth-best odds and fell to ninth, which they had a 3.7% chance of receiving.
What would potentially make matters worse this time is the adjusted lottery rule due to the league's restart. Based on record, the Wizards should have the eighth-best odds in the lottery. If the Hornets, who are in their place, got lucky, that would be devastating.
But it can still happen, so it is worth preparing for that scenario, even if it qualifies as worst-case. If the Wizards did fall in the 11-to-13 range, they would still be able to find a talented player, it just may be a while before they make an impact.
If the Wizards picked in the teens, the likelihood they take a long-term project would increase. GM Tommy Sheppard has suggested that could be the strategy, which would be different from last year when they drafted Rui Hachimura and Admiral Schofield, two veteran college players.
With a pick in the teens, the Wizards could look at their roster, which they hope to be playoff-ready next season, and see little room for a mid-first round pick to find minutes right away. That could lead to selecting a one-and-done player, or someone with injury concerns, that may take several years to develop into a rotation piece.
The picks: It is time to set the board. Let's first operate under the assumption the Wizards are picking 11th. If that is the case, here is how the top-10 picks could shake out, based on the lottery odds:
1. Warriors - Anthony Edwards 2. Cavs - LaMelo Ball 3. Timberwolves - James Wiseman 4. Hawks - Deni Avdija 5. Pistons - Isaac Okoro 6. Knicks - Tyrese Haliburton 7. Bulls - Obi Toppin 8. Hornets - Tyrese Maxey 9. Suns - Onyeka Okongwu 10. Spurs - Killian Hayes
Seeing Okongwu and Hayes off the board right before the Wizards pick would be brutal. Okongwu would be a great fit because of his defense and rebounding, while Hayes would be the perfect long-term project at guard to stash behing John Wall and Bradley Beal. If this is how things go, the Wizards would probably be quite disappointed.
But they would regroup, check their board and see some talented players remaining. The best still available would be Devin Vassell (FSU), Patrick Williams (FSU), Precious Achiuwa (Memphis), Cole Anthony (UNC) and Aaron Nesmith (Vanderbilt).
Vassell stands out the most from that group in terms of fit and overall upside. He would give the Wizards another shooter who could also help their cause defensively. And he could play the three, which is an area the Wizards could stand to upgrade. So, if that is the board and they are picking 11th, Vassell is the guy in this mock draft.
If they are picking 12th and Vassell is gone, it would make sense to turn to Achiuwa. He may not scream All-Star potential due to his raw offensive game, but he could instantly help with rebounding rim protection, which would help lift the Wizards' struggling defense.
If the Wizards are selecting 13th, which is highly unlikely, and both Vassell and Achiuwa are gone, then it might really be time to take on a project. As much as Williams or Nesmith make sense, it might be smart to take a flier on a young guard, given there is a lot of depth at the position in this class.
So, in that spirit, Cole Anthony of North Carolina could be the guy. Why not? If you're picking 13th, you might need to swing big and he would likely be picked much higher if he didn't get injured in college. Anthony was a sensation at the start of the season and still put up strong numbers with 18.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. The biggest problem is he shot just 38 percent from the field.
But he's also 19 and could develop behind Wall, perhaps as his long-term replacement. Wall is, after all, turning 30 next month.