Heading into Tuesday night’s NBA Draft Lottery, the Wizards only had a nine percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick, and by extension Zion Williamson.
After the first 3 of 4 lottery numbers were drawn, the Pelicans had the most winning combinations, followed by the Wizards. In the room, Washington’s Tommy Shepherd tracked numbers & knew exactly how close franchise came to winning the Zion draft. Later, he declined comment.
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) May 15, 2019
Ben Golliver of The Washington Post reported that after the first three of four lottery number drawings, the Wizards had the second-most combinations to get the No. 1 pick, only surpassed by the Pelicans.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe provided some more detail on the scene in the drawing room:
“The first three balls drawn on the winning combination were numbers 7, 4, and 12,” Lowe wrote Wednesday. “The worst teams — New York, Phoenix, and Cleveland — owned 420 of the 1,000 four-number combinations, and most of the combos featuring 1s, 2s, and 3s. There is real suspense in the air when the first three numbers drawn are 4 or higher. For 10 delicious seconds — and exactly 10 by league rule — a lot of teams are in play.”
“Tommy Sheppard, the Wizards’ top executive since the team fired Ernie Grunfeld, also felt butterflies, he told ESPN.com afterward. The Wizards owned a few combinations featuring 4, 7, and 12. For a moment, Sheppard let himself envision Washington erasing a year of rotten feelings. ‘Of course you do that,’ Sheppard said. ‘But then you remember this is like bingo. You can’t control anything.'”
But just one ping pong ball away from Zion Williamson, Washington did not get a number it needed in the final drawing and fell all the way to ninth, New Orleans winding up with the top choice.
I don’t completely understand this Tweet but I think I’m supposed to be like “oh my god this is so DC sports it hurts” https://t.co/wnKlsO0aJZ
— Nate Blogg (@BarstoolNate) May 15, 2019
The Wizards had a 96% chance of not picking 9 or 10. I hate everything
— danny rouhier (@funnydanny) May 15, 2019
— Ben Krimmel (@BenKrimmel) May 15, 2019
So close, yet so, so, so, far. And yes, so Wizards.