By Brooks Warren/The Sports Pulse Contributor
WASHINGTON – For the second year in a row, the Washington Wizards land on the No. 9 overall pick during the NBA Draft Lottery.
With last year’s No. 9 pick Rui Hachimura in attendance virtually as Washington’s lottery representative Thursday, Washington had only a 4.5% chance to move up to the No. 1 stop and a 20.5% to land in the top four. Instead, the Minnesota Timberwolves landed the top pick, and the Golden State Warriors fell on No. 2.
The draft lottery, delayed by four months due to the coronavirus pandemic, had teams looking to improve their odds for a top pick in a draft class filled with questions. With the college basketball season ending early with no conference tournaments and a national championship, little scouting has been done to name a consensus number one pick this year.
After the lottery, General Manager Tommy Sheppard would not say who the Wizards are picking. Instead, he said there are 15 guys they have interest in with the first-round pick.
“Everything’s on the table for us to get better as a franchise,” Sheppard said. “If we can take two picks and move up if someone wants to do that, we’ll entertain that. If there’s other options, we look at everything.”
Sheppard did not shy away at the possibility of Washington shopping their first-round pick and No. 37 overall pick. He said while Washington will pick the best available prospect, they will not shy away from taking calls from the teams ahead and behind them in the lottery.
Their immediate needs are adding depth and improving their defense, considering the Wizards finished with the second-worst defensive rating (114.7) during the regular season.
Washington will be in the market for a defensive-minded prospect, a player that can provide shot-blocking and rim protection. The team will attempt to balance its defensive needs while re-signing sharpshooting Davis Bertans, which Sheppard has stated in the past is a top priority.
It is unknown when draft prospects can work out in front of teams nor when teams can get back together in their practice facilities after the draft.
Sheppard said that the main objective this offseason is to get Washington back into a position to win. With a healthy John Wall and Bradley Beal back in the fold, along with the return of head coach Scott Brooks for at least one more season, the Wizards will add someone who can contribute immediately.
“My goal is never to be there,” Sheppard said Wednesday before the draft lottery. “Next year, we don’t want to rely on the draft lottery to get better. We want to see our young players get better. This year, I’m grateful we’ll have an opportunity to add a couple of quality pieces.”
The NBA Draft is scheduled to take place on Friday, Oct. 16.