So the tiebreaker came back to bite the Wizards in the tail. They edged out the Clippers for the No. 2 spot in the lottery, but ended up missing out on the ultimate prize — the first pick in the draft — by one digit.
Before the night began, Flip Saunders carried a lucky silver medallion bearing the image of an angel, and three times he used it for magic tricks (in case you hadn’t heard, he’s an avid magician). But he couldn’t get the magic to carry over into the lottery room. That’s because he wasn’t in there, Saunders joked. “If they let me back there I can [work some magic],” he joked ahead of time.
But the balls bounced an unfavorable way, and the Wizards — although they obviously would’ve rather wind up with first or second — didn’t seem too disappointed.
Flip described landing the top pick as “gravy” because “ultimately, our team will be judged by the health of the players that we already have.” He also said that the Wizards viewed only Griffin as a player capable of coming in and making an immediate impact right off the bat. Flip pointed out that Minnesota thought it had lost out back in 1995 by landing the fifth pick rather than a top-four selection in a draft that featured Joe Smith, Antonio McDyess, Rasheed Wallace and Jerry Stackhouse. Kevin Garnett hadn’t even worked out for teams by the time the lottery rolled around, and there was some debate as to whether he would remain in the draft. Obviously, the rest is history. So, you never know what could come from this pick.
Ernie Grunfeld, who watched the lottery from back in D.C., said by way of phone interview afterwards that the Wizards see themselves as a playoff team, draft pick or no. He’ll “explore all our options and see where they take us.” The Wizards believe they can either get a player capable of growing and working his way into an impact role, or, they believe they can use it as “an asset” (Ernie’s favorite word), to help them acquire a veteran contributor.
I hear that the Wizards are rather high on Arizona’s Jordan Hill, who is a low-post scoring threat, as well as Stephen Curry, the Davidson sharpshooter, who is a little small, but is talented nonetheless. Wizards brass also saw Brandon Jennings play in the last month, and are impressed with him as well, believing playing overseas helped his growth as a player.
The Wizards resume predraft workouts on Thursday, and it will be interesting to see who they work out from now until June 25.
Stay tuned …