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With Wizards losing ground, NBA draft lottery could soon come into full focus

With Wizards losing ground, NBA draft lottery could soon come into full focus

Two straight narrow losses this weekend have left the Wizards in a precarious spot as they look up in the standings and cling to diminishing playoff hopes. Only 16 games remain and their upcoming five-game homestand is basically do-or-die. Given their troubles on the road, if they don't win a good portion or all of the next five, they could be toast.

The Wizards are 27-39, 12 games under .500. The fact they are still in the postseason hunt at all is remarkable and only possible because the Eastern Conference is very thin beyond its top five teams.

In most years, the Wizards record at this point would put the draft lottery fully in focus. Still, we're not far from that being the case.

With their overtime loss to the Timberwolves on Saturday, the Wizards moved below the Dallas Mavericks in the standings. They currently hold the seventh-best lottery odds.

In part because the East is so bad, the Wizards could realistically pick anywhere in the top half of the draft. If they were somehow able to make the playoffs, they could pick as low as 15th, assuming a first round loss to the top seed. If they were to miss the postseason, which is looking probable at this point, they could select as high as first overall.

Keep in mind the draft lottery odds changed this season. In an attempt to discourage tanking, the league created a more balanced system. 

The three worst teams will each have a 14 percent chance of getting the top pick. Previously, the team with the worst record had a 25 percent chance of the top pick and the second-worst record netted odds of 19.9 percent.

With those odds lowered, the chances went up for other spots in the lottery. While last year the seventh-worst record yielded a 5.3 percent chance for the No. 1 pick, this year it is 7.5 percent.

Say the Wizards end up seventh from the bottom, as they currently are. Here is how their lottery odds would sort out, according to Tankathon.com:

1st pick - 7.5%

2nd pick - 7.8%

3rd pick - 8.1%

4th pick - 8.5%

5th pick - N/A

6th pick - N/A

7th pick - 19.7%

8th pick - 34.1%

9th pick - 12.9%

10th pick - 1.3%

Not only would they have a 7.5 percent shot at No. 1, they would have a 15.3 percent chance at a top two pick, a 23.4 percent shot at a top three selection and a 31.9 percent chance of picking in the top four. 

This year's draft class happens to be headlined by four players. There are the three stars from Duke - Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish - and Ja Morant from Murray State.

The Wizards would like to make the playoffs and have exactly one month to try. But pretty soon the draft lottery could be a distinct reality, especially if this coming week at home doesn't go their way.

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Jeff Green 'would love to come back' to Wizards, add stability to journeyman career

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Jeff Green 'would love to come back' to Wizards, add stability to journeyman career

With six different teams in the past five years, Jeff Green has become one of the NBA's most itinerant journeymen.

Including his early-career move from Seattle to Oklahoma City, when the franchise transitioned from the Sonics to the Thunder, Green has played in eight different cities. Among active players, only Ish Smith (10), Marco Bellinelli (nine), Shaun Livingston (nine) and Anthony Tolliver (nine) have played for more teams.

Being in Washington this past season, though, was different. That's because Green is from the area, having grown up nearby in Maryland. He starred at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, then at Georgetown University in Northwest D.C.

At 32 years old (he turns 33 in August), Green does not prefer being a basketball nomad. He would like to stay with the Wizards this summer as he aims for a new contract in free agency.

"I would love to come back," Green said. "Great set of guys on this team. I loved playing with Brad [Beal], John [Wall]."

Green also mentioned playing for head coach Scott Brooks, for whom he played in Seattle and Oklahoma City. Brooks was an assistant on the Sonics staff when Green was a rookie, then took over as head coach in the middle of Green's sophomore season. Green left the Thunder after his third season and, 10 years later, was reunited with Brooks in Washington.

The biggest draw for Green to the Wizards, though, is the fact it is his hometown team. Though playing at home is a drawback for some players, Green found major benefits in being around family and in the town where he played college ball.

"Being in front of family every night was great for me. It allowed me to see my daughters more than a couple of times a year, which was great," he said. 

"Being in a familiar setting from my Georgetown days was great. Being able to go up to Georgetown and watch the guys get better, it was great. [Those are] things I haven’t been able to do since being in the league."

On the court, Green found individual success with the Wizards amid a disappointing season overall. He averaged 12.3 points and 4.0 rebounds while setting a career-high in effective field goal percentage (55.5). 

He did all of that while making the league minimum of $2.4 million. On a Wizards team that was in some ways defined by bloated salaries, Green proved a bargain. 

Hoping to come back to the Wizards was a familiar refrain from impending free agents during the Wizards' media exit interviews. Bobby Portis, Jabari Parker, Thomas Bryant and others all suggested they would like to return. 

But with a new front office leadership structure set to be installed, certainty isn't offered for anyone. For Green, the Wizards' new general manager will need to evaluate whether he was part of their problems. 

While Green probably exceeded expectations this season, he was on the floor when the team struggled to rebound the ball and defend just like his teammates were. The Wizards were 27th in the NBA in defensive rating this season at 112.8, according to NBA.com. Green's defensive rating was 112.6.

The Wizards and Green may ultimately not prove a fit in the eyes of the new GM. If that is the case, Green could move on to play in a new city, the ninth of his career. 

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Former Wizards Mike Scott, Jared Dudley deliver the drama in Sixers-Nets Game 4

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Former Wizards Mike Scott, Jared Dudley deliver the drama in Sixers-Nets Game 4

The 76ers-Nets playoff series has been wild from the start, but the trash talk and physical play reached the next level in the Sixers' Game 4 victory Sunday. 

The contest featured two ejections as well as a game-deciding shot with 19.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter. In the middle of it all? None other than Jared Dudley and Mike Scott, who played for the Wizards in 2015-16 and 2017-18, respectively. 

Tensions between Dudley and the Sixers had been simmering since he slammed Ben Simmons in the media after Game 1.

With 7:42 left in the third quarter Saturday, Joel Embiid committed a flagrant foul on Jarrett Allen under the basket. An incensed Dudley shoved Embiid, prompting Jimmy Butler to push Dudley away.

When Simmons to try to separate the two, he and Dudley got tangled up and tumbled into the front-row seats. Both Dudley and Butler were ejected on the spot. 

The Nets held a 67-61 advantage when Dudley and Butler were tossed, but that lead dwindled to one point with under a minute left to go. 

Brooklyn made the mistake of leaving Scott open in the corner, where Embiid set him up for a go-ahead three-pointer with 19.7 seconds remaining.

A pair of Tobias Harris free throws sealed the Sixers' 112-108 win, putting them up 3-1 in the series. Scott and company can finish off Dudley's squad in Game 5 on Tuesday. 

In the meantime, listen as Scott goes 1-on-1 with Chris Miller in the latest Wizards Talk Podcast. 

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