The 2018-19 NBA season has come to an end for the Washington Wizards and a 50 loss season means a 9.0 percent chance at Zion Williamson and a 37.2 percent chance at a top-four selection. We can get into the quality of the draft after Zion at a later date but for now, the two biggest questions are who is making the pick and where do the Wizards end up after the lottery on May 14th?
For the first time in 16 years, someone other than Ernie Grunfeld will be making the Wizards selection. That’s the first time I’ve written that out and it was somewhat therapeutic. That Ernie is no longer here is in and of itself reason enough to bring a renewed level of excitement from the fans. Secondly, until the ping pong balls fall there remains at least a little bit of hope that the basketball gods will look down and bless the nation’s capital with the gifts of Zion. That’s the good news.
The bad. If history is any indication, lady luck is not on the Wizards side and that means the person making the picks will probably have a bigger impact on the franchise than the actual pick from the 2019 NBA Draft.
The Wizards franchise has had nineteen potential lottery opportunities in the last 30 years. Seven of those picks were traded for players. Of the remaining twelve lottery chances, Washington has dropped in the draft 6x, stayed in position 3x, and moved up 3x, which resulted in Kwame Brown, John Wall and Otto Porter.
On the surface, the data is meh, Washington still was able to hit on some All-Stars in a couple of the drafts, traded for some impactful guys with other picks and simply missed out on THE quality players in other years.
But, when you really examine the Bullets and Wizards lottery luck, or lack there-of, there is a much more depressing history of failed trades and bad draft picks.
To give you the full outlook I went back to all 19 possible draft lottery’s and outlined who Washington picked, what happened to the pick, the top few picks from that draft and some other notables selected near or around where Washington selected.
Bullets Pick – 1989: Tom Hammonds (9th)
First 4: Pervis Ellison, Danny Ferry, Sean Elliott, Glen Rice
Other notables: Mookie Blaylock (12), Tim Hardaway (14), Dana Barros (16), Shawn Kemp (17), B.J. Armstrong (18) Vlade Divac (26)
Bullets Pick – 1991: Mark Macon (8th); Traded to Nuggets for Michael Adams and 19th pick
First 4: Larry Johnson, Kenny Anderson, Billy Owens, Dikembe Mutombo
Other notables: Terrell Brandon (11th), Dale Davis (13th), Chris Gatling (16th)
Bullets Pick – 1992: Tom Gugliotta (6th), Dropped 1 Spot
First 4: Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Christian Laettner. Jimmy Jackson
Other notables: Walt Williams (7th), Robert Horry (11th), Doug Christie (17th), Tracy Murray (18th)
Bullets Pick – 1993: Calbert Cheaney (6th), Dropped 3 Spots
First 4: Chris Webber, Shawn Bradley, Penny Hardaway, Jamal Mashburn
Other notables: Vin Baker (8th), Allen Houston (11th), Sam Cassell (24th), Nick Van Exel (37th)
Bullets Pick – 1994: Juwan Howard (5th)
First 4: Glenn Robinson, Jason Kidd, Grant Hill, Donyell Marshall
Other notables: Eddie Jones (10th), a bunch of dudes
Bullets Pick – 1995: Rasheed Wallace (4th), Dropped 2 Spots
First 4: Joe Smith, Antonio McDyess, Jerry Stackhouse, Rasheed Wallace
Other notables: Kevin Garnett (5th), Damon Stoudamire (7th)
Wizards Pick – 1998: Keon Clark (13th); Traded to Warriors in Webber deal, Warriors then traded to Magic
First 5: Michael Olowokandi, Mike Bibby, Raef LaFrentz, Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter
Other notables: Dirk Nowitzki (9th), Paul Pierce (10th), Rashard Lewis (32nd),
Wizards Pick – 1999: Rip Hamilton (7th), Dropped 1 Spot
First 4: Elton Brand, Steve Francis, Baron Davis, Lamar Odom
Other notables: Shawn Marion (9th), Jason Terry (10th), Ron Artest (16th), Andrei Kirilenko (24th), Manu Ginobili (57th)
Wizards Pick – 2000: Chris Mihm (7th), Dropped 1 Spot; Traded to Warriors in Webber deal, Warriors then traded to Cavaliers
First 4: Kenyon Martin, Stromile Swift, Darius Miles, Marcus Fizer
Other notables:Mike Miller (5th), Jamal Crawford (8th), Hedo Turkoglu (16th), DeShawn Stevenson (23rd)
Wizards Pick – 2001: Kwame Brown (1st), Moved Up 2 Spots
First 4: Kwame Brown, Tyson Chandler, Pau Gasol, Eddy Curry
Other notables: Jason Richardson (5th), Shane Battier (6th), Joe Johnson (10th), Richard Jefferson (13th), Zach Randolph (19th), Gerald Wallace (25th), Tony Parker (28th), Gilbert Arenas (31st), Mehmet Okur (38th)
Wizards Pick – 2002: Jared Jeffries (11th)
First 4: Yao Ming, Jay Williams, Mike Dunleavy Jr., Drew Gooden
Other notables: A’mare Stoudemire (9th), Caron Butler (10th), Carlos Boozer (35th)
Wizards Pick – 2003: Jarvis Hayes (10th)
First 5: LeBron James, Darko Milicic, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade
Other notables: David West (18th), Josh Howard (29th), Mo Williams (47th), Kyle Korver (51st)
Wizards Pick – 2004: Devin Harris (5th), Dropped 2 Spots; Traded to Dallas in Antwan Jamison trade
First 4: Dwight Howard, Emeka Okafor, Ben Gordon, Shaun Livingston
Other notables: Luol Deng (7th), Andre Iguodala (9th), Al Jefferson (15th)
Wizards Pick – 2009: Ricky Rubio (5th), Dropped 3 Spots; Traded to Timberwolves for Mike Miller and Randy Foye
First 4: Blake Griffin, Hasheem Thabeet, James Harden, Tyreke Evans
Other notables: Stephen Curry (7th), DeMar DeRozan (9th), Jrue Holiday (17th), Jeff Teague (19th)
Wizards Pick – 2010: John Wall (1st), Moved Up 4 Spots
First 4: John Wall, Evan Turner, Derrick Favors, Wesley Johnson
Other notables: DeMarcus Cousins (5th), Gordon Hayward (9th), Paul George (10th), Eric Bledsoe (18th) Avery Bradley (19th)
Wizards Pick – 2011: Jan Vesely (6th), Dropped 2 Spots
First 4: Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams, Enes Kanter, Tristan Thompson
Other notables: Jonas Valanciunas (5th), Kemba Walker (9th), Klay Thompson (11th), Kawhi Leonard (15th), Nikola Vucevic (16th), Jimmy Butler (30th), Isaiah Thomas (60th)
Wizards Pick – 2012: Bradley Beal (3rd), Dropped 1 Spot
First 4: Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bradley Beal, Dion Waiters
Other notables: Damian Lillard (6th), Andre Drummond (9th), Draymond Green (35th), Khris Middleton (39th)
Wizards Pick – 2013: Otto Porter (3rd), Moved Up 5 Spots
First 4: Anthony Bennett, Victor Oladipo, Otto Porter, Cody Zeller
Other notables: C.J. McCollum (10th), Giannis Antetokounmpo (15th), Rudy Gobert (27th)
Wizards Pick – 2016: George Papagiannis (13th); Traded to Suns for Markieff Morris
First 4: Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram, Jaylen Brown, Dragan Bender
Other notables: Pascal Siakam (27th), Malcom Brogdon (36th)
Don’t fret though, as I mentioned earlier, the optimism for this offseason should be with the new general manager. If Washington can manage to stay at six or move up they will be adding a very good basketball player to their lineup this summer. For a 50 loss team that’s fantastic news.
I promised myself that if the day came that Ernie Grunfeld was no longer here I’d return to my optimistic roots and quit complaining about the past. If you’ve made it this far this is the part where I keep my word.
To understand where you are it’s important to know where you’ve been. In order to appreciate success it’s important to remember the failures. In order to move on you gotta move the hell on.
So, here’s to a new chapter of basketball in the District of Columbia. I haven’t been this excited about a Wizards offseason since…