- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The pingpong balls could have been just a bit kinder to the Washington Wizards, who got the third pick in the NBA Draft Lottery on Wednesday after dropping one spot from their second-slated position.

The Wizards finished with the second-worst record in the league (20-46), behind the Charlotte Bobcats (7-59), who will pick second. The New Orleans Hornets, who finished with the third-worst record (21-45) have the first pick. The draft is June 28.

Along with their lottery pick, the Wizards also will have two second-round picks, Nos. 32 and 46.

“We have been committed to our rebuilding plan and have seen the results of those efforts start to materialize with how our team is coming together,” Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld said in a statement. “Adding a top pick in the draft will only help that process, and we’re very optimistic about the future of this team moving forward.”

The consensus No. 1 pick is 6-foot-10 Kentucky forward Anthony Davis. Also at the top of most NBA draft boards behind Davis are Florida guard Bradley Beal, Connecticut center Andre Drummond, Kentucky forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Kansas forward Thomas Robinson.

The Wizards will be looking for players to complement point guard John Wall and center Nene, two players the team plans to build around.

The Wizards have won the lottery twice in past decade; in 2001 when they drafted Kwame Brown, and 2010 when they selected Wall. Washington had the third-best chance of winning the lottery in 2001 and the fifth-best chance in 2010.

The NBA has used some version of a lottery system to determine the draft order of non-playoff teams since the 1985 season, when the New York Knicks drafted Georgetown center Patrick Ewing. The weighted lottery system was adopted in 1990 and modified in 1993, the goal being to give the teams with the worst records the best chance of getting the No. 1 pick.

Despite the changes, the team with the worst record hasn’t gotten the top pick since 2004, when the Orlando Magic drafted Dwight Howard.