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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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Former Wizards guard Jordan McRae on what it was like being in Detroit when teammate Christian Wood tested positive for coronavirus

Former Wizards guard Jordan McRae on what it was like being in Detroit when teammate Christian Wood tested positive for coronavirus

Detroit Pistons power forward Christian Wood was the third player in the NBA to be diagnosed with COVID-19 back on March 14. Thankfully, Wood has fully recovered from the illness as of March 25, but the time leading up to his positive test was crazy—just ask former Washington Wizard, now Piston, Jordan McRae.

"Me and Christian [Wood] actually went out to eat that night and he was fine, he was good," McRae told NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller on the latest episode of the Wizards Talk podcast. "We had practice the next day, he was fine. Then before the [Sixers] game, he was like 'Yo, I don't really feel good, I might not play.'"

"We all gave him a hard time like, 'Yo, we have Joel Embiid tonight and now you out sick? You don't want to play.'"

LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW ON THE WIZARDS TALK PODCAST

The grief must've gotten to Wood because he decided to suit up and ended up having a career night vs. Philadelphia with 32 points, 14 rebounds and five assists. 

"The doctors gave him some medicine and stuff and he was cool," McRae continued. "I think he had 32 and 14, he played good."

"After the game, we got on the bus to leave the arena but they then made us all get off the bus and told us 'Rudy Gobert tested positive.' So we came home, all got tested, and they told us we had to be quarantined for 14 days."

All athletes had similar questions when they were told to self-quarantine for two weeks. For McRae, because his living arrangement was unique due to being freshly claimed off waivers by the Pistons on March 4, it was simple:

"'Can I go home?" McRae said. "I was in a hotel, it was nice but at the end of the day, it's still four walls. I'm going to be here for 14 days?" 

"They ended up getting me an apartment," McRae said. "But for 14 days I wound up buying an Xbox. I don't play [NBA] 2K but ended up playing 2k half of the time. It was tough. I played an 82 game season, the playoffs and the championship in three days."

This hiatus from basketball also has McRae participating in other uncharacteristic activities just to stay in shape and entertained. 

"I just bought a Peloton bike," McRae said. "I'm not a fan of exercise bikes and treadmills because I always play, but now I find myself doing things I don't normally do.

"I watch my highlights, I can tell you on some of my highlights what happens before it happens."

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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How to watch Wizards' huge comeback win vs. Clippers, NBA 2K20 sim vs. Pelicans

How to watch Wizards' huge comeback win vs. Clippers, NBA 2K20 sim vs. Pelicans

It was a time when John Wall trade rumors were swirling, months before he would rupture his Achilles in an injury that's kept him sidelined ever since. 

The Wizards still managed to erase a 24-point deficit en route to a 125-118 win over the Clippers in Nov. 2018. Wall led Washington with 30 points and eight assists while Bradley Beal had 27 and seven of his own. Sure, it was a Clippers squad constructed pre-Kawhi Leonard and Paul George acquisitions, but it's a reair you have to watch, nonetheless. 

Before that, though, you're going to want to get your fix of the Wizards' 2020 schedule with an NBA 2K20 simulation against the Pelicans. Rookie Zion Williamson is a force to be reckoned with, and sports pundits all over were wondering if a possible postseason push could earn him the Rookie of the Year award. 

Still, the Wizards, even without Wall, have been on a tear in recent NBA 2K contests. 

Here's how to watch all the action. 

When:

Wedneday, April 1 at 7 PM ET

Where:

  • NBC Sports Washington (channel finder
  • Any of our 24/7 authenticated streaming platforms
  • Monumental Sports Network via its website www.monumentalsportsnetwork.com or via any of its available apps on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, and Xbox.

 

Broadcast schedule

6:00 PM: NBA2K Simulation: Los Angeles Lakers @ Wizards  (R)

7:00 PM: NBA2K Simulation: New Orleans Pelicans @ Washington Wizards  (R)

8:00 PM: NBA Classics: Los Angeles Clippers @ Wizards (R) (November 20, 2018, Wizards comeback from a 24-point deficit in wild win)

Starting lineups

The nice part about this is we don't have to wait as long to know the starting lineups. Just don't tell the 2K computer. 

Wizards
PG - Shabazz Napier
SG - Bradley Beal
SF - Jerome Robinson
PF - Rui Hachimura
C - Thomas Bryant

Pelicans
PG - Lonzo Ball
SG - Jrue Holiday
SF - Brandon Ingram
PF - Zion Williamson
C - Derrick Favors

So if you're like us and desperately miss watching NBA basketball, tune into NBC Sports Washington on Wednesday night to get the closest thing to a live game. We'll get through this hiatus together. 

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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