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Proposed NBA draft lottery odds rules could hurt the Wizards

Proposed NBA draft lottery odds rules could hurt the Wizards

The news the Wizards are among the 22 teams invited to resume play in Orlando, FL is good, as more basketball is always a positive thing. But on Thursday, as the rest of the league's return-to-play proposal was released, there was a small note in the fine print that could end up hurting the Wizards.

It involves the draft lottery odds. The eight teams whose season ended are locked into their lottery position. That means the Wizards, who are currently ninth, can now only hurt their chances, not improve them.

If they were to bottom out and lose a bunch of games in Orlando, they can't move any higher than ninth. Given they are only 1 1/2 games ahead of the Charlotte Hornets, who hold the eighth-best lottery odds, there is a possiblity they go into lottery night with fewer ping-pong balls than a team that holds a higher win percentage.

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Even with only eight games left in the new regular season format, the Wizards could have moved up to have the seventh-best odds. That would have given them a 31.9 percent chance at a top-four pick. If they stay at ninth, they will have 20.2 percent odds to pick in the top four.

It is also important to note the Wizards will be playing those eight games against all good teams. The 22-team cutoff took out the league's bottom-dwellers.

There is, however, a flip-side that has some positives. The fact they can't improve their lottery odds means they have no reason to tank. That allows them to go to Orlando and battle for a playoff spot without keeping one eye on their future. They don't have incentive to shut down players or anything of the sort.

But if they make the playoffs, they would be taken out of the lottery. And in that scenario, they would pick at 15th or lower.

The new lottery odds rule is one of the more unique changes the NBA made to resume play. And it could arguably end up affecting the Wizards more than any other team.

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Charles Barkley jokingly admits he doesn't know anyone on the Wizards besides John Wall and Bradley Beal

Charles Barkley jokingly admits he doesn't know anyone on the Wizards besides John Wall and Bradley Beal

Without John Wall, Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans, Washington's three best players, the Wizards hopes of making the playoffs in the NBA's Orlando restart have taken a hit.

On Thursday, Wizards coach Scott Brooks joined the Inside the NBA team on TNT, where Charles Barkley genuinely asked him who has to step up for the team when the games begin.

Brooks' response was unexpected, yet also hilarious. Here was the exchange:

Barkley: "Obviously, without John and Bradley, your two best players, give us two names that really need to step up for you guys."

Brooks: "Well, I think we should play that game where you name two guys on our team besides those two guys." 

Barkley: "Let me tell you something, I don't know anybody on your team! So I want you to tell us two players on your team."

To Barkley's credit, much of the national media has not paid any attention to the Wizards this season. The team only had one game on national TV this season, a November clash with the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers.

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When basketball does resume, the Wizards are six games back of the Orlando Magic for the eighth spot in the East. Washington needs to make up two games over the final eight contests in order to force a play-in game for the conference's final playoff spot.

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Report: Wizards players Thomas Bryant, Gary Payton II test positive for coronavirus

Report: Wizards players Thomas Bryant, Gary Payton II test positive for coronavirus

The Washington Wizards have their first reported cases of coronavirus, as center Thomas Bryant and Gary Payton II have tested positive, according to the Washington Post.

The timing of the tests prevented Bryant and Payton II from traveling with the Wizards to Orlando, FL as they entered the NBA's restart bubble at Disney World. The team, however, is hopeful they can join them before long.

Head coach Scott Brooks first dropped a hint on Thursday night when addressing the media on a video conference call from Orlando.

"A couple of guys did not make the trip. Hopefully they will be joining us soon. But with the CBA medical [restrictions] I can't get into who did not participate," Brooks said.

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That suggested coronavirus was the likely reason. If it were another injury, he could specify just as they did with Bradley Beal days earlier when they explained why he wasn't going to play in the restart. A basketball injury also wouldn't prevent them from traveling.

Coronavirus generally stays in the system for 10 to 14 days. It is unclear when Bryant and Payton II contracted the virus, or when they tested positive. The Wizards' first exhibition game is July 22. They play their first regular season game on July 31.

Bryant and Payton II are the first cases involving the Wizards made public. It is not known whether any others have tested positive previously, as team officials have deferred to league statements on related matters.

There have been dozens of positive tests throughout the league in recent months, including some that shut down practice facilities.

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