- The Washington Times - Monday, May 16, 2011

At last year’s NBA draft lottery, a winning pick by the Wizards brought them point guard John Wall. At this year’s lottery, Wall will represent Washington and hopes his presence results in the same kind of luck.

The lottery will be held Tuesday night at 8:30, just before tipoff of Game 1 of the Western Conference finals between the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder.

“I’m going to ask Mrs. Pollin if I can get that yellow jacket, and then get some pearls from my mom and see if I can bring on the No. 1 pick again,” Wall said at the Wizards’ new uniform unveiling last week.

Last year, former owner Irene Pollin represented the Wizards on stage, wearing a bright yellow jacket, when the team won the first pick and selected Wall.

Teammate Jordan Crawford hopes Wall will be a lucky charm.

“I just found out John’s going to be up there to pick the number, so it’s going to be very exciting,” Crawford said.

Wall, in whatever wardrobe he chooses, will be seated on a podium with representatives from 11 other teams that didn’t make the playoffs.

The Wizards were 23-59, the fourth-worst record in the league ahead of Minnesota, Toronto and Cleveland. The Timberwolves’ 17-65 mark was the league’s worst, and gives them the best shot at getting the No. 1 pick, calculated at 25 percent. The Wizards’ odds of getting the top pick are 11.9 percent.

After the first 14 lottery picks (the Cavaliers and Utah Jazz have an extra pick each via trades), the Wizards will have the 18th overall pick in the first round, obtained in a trade with the Atlanta Hawks, and the 34th overall pick.

Owner Ted Leonsis has maintained that his plan is to build through the draft, and with the possibility of a lockout that would impact free agent movement, getting lucky in the draft is a must for a rebuilding team.

“We’re ahead of schedule in turning the Wizards around. Some of it is luck, and I think luck plays a big part of things,” Leonsis said. “We were lucky that we won the lottery and we got John Wall. That’s one building block. I’m hoping we can draft another player who can add to that mix.”

The Wizards could use a bit of lottery luck. Before last year’s win, the team has been in the lottery 13 times since the league adopted the format in 1985. Only once, in 2001 when the team chose Kwame Brown at No. 1, did the team get a higher draft pick than its projected slot.

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