2023 NBA Draft Lottery Simulator: Scoot Henderson falls into Wizards laps at No. 3
Lottery Simulator: A double dose of Wizards luck originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
With the Wizards set to have the eighth-best odds in the May 16 NBA Draft Lottery, we at NBC Sports Washington are running through the different scenarios. The idea is to simulate what the draft board could look like when they are on the clock on June 22 and examine the decisions they may have to make.
Here is a look at the possibility they get the third overall pick...
Lottery simulation results
It required 19 tries of Real GM's lottery simulator to secure the third overall pick for the Wizards. Their odds of picking fourth are 7.4% with their chances to move up into the top three at 21.1%. The simulator was kind to Washington in the rare instances that they moved up. The Wizards grabbed the No. 1 pick three times before we got third. They also drew the No. 8 pick eight times, the No. 9 pick six times and the No. 10 pick once.
Getting anything in the top three would be a major lottery night victory for the Wizards. It would represent an opportunity for Washington to grab a franchise player to pair with Bradley Beal in his prime. They haven't picked this high since 2013, which was also the last time they moved up in the lottery.
The Wizards weren't the only team to leapfrog up the draft board. The Utah Jazz moved from the ninth-best odds to first with the Houston Rockets being the biggest losers dropping from second to fifth.
Here's how the board played out...
Lottery simulation mock draft
1. Jazz: C Victor Wembanyama (France)
Utah blowing it all up after last season paid off by getting the generational talent Wembanyama. It marks the first time the Jazz won the lottery in team history. Another Danny Ainge organization doesn't have to rebuild long before they're back in contention.
2. Pistons: G/F Brandon Miller (Alabama)
Detroit has drafted three straight point guard types in the last three lotteries, including the 2021 first-overall selection Cade Cunningham. Miller would be a great addition on the wing to the Cunningham and Jaden Ivey backcourt.
3. Wizards: PG Scoot Henderson (G League Ignite)
Striking luck twice in one draft is rare to do. Not only did the Wizards move up to third, but they benefit from Detroit's abundance of guards to get the chance to draft their future point guard Scoot Henderson. Many draft analysts argue that if it wasn't for Wembanyama, Henderson still might represent the best prospect the league has seen since Zion Williamson in 2019. You simply don't pass on that opportunity no matter the circumstances.
Henderson also would be someone that gives Washington youth at a vital position. It would really help balance out their roster not only for this upcoming year but in the long term as well.
A comparison to Henderson is Donovan Mitchell. The G League Ignite product is an extremely talented playmaking guard who has elite speed. There are multiple dribble moves in his bag that, combined with his speed, generates space and sets up his teammates in their spots. His speed is also a huge help for his defensive coverage where he's active and engaged, constantly looking for reach-in and swipes.
Henderson would be someone that the Wizards would want to get in the starting lineup as quickly as possible. They could take their time with Monte Morris holding position at the start of the year. However, with Henderson's two years of G League experience should be ready to go from the jump.
4. Spurs: G/F Amen Thompson (Overtime Elite)
In the midst of a rebuild, San Antonio will take the best player available which appears to be Amen Thompson. He's a versatile wing and would give Greg Popovich a true athlete who can make a difference on both ends of the court.
5. Rockets: PG/SG Anthony Black (Arkansas)
Houston misses out on the top four prospects who could all have a notable difference in their lineup. Here, they take a swing on the best available point guard in hopes that he can pair with Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr.
6. Hornets: G/F Ausar Thompson (Overtime Elite)
Charlotte could really benefit from adding a shooter to their backcourt. Ausar Thompson adds athleticism and playmaking ability to a Hornets team that is building around LaMelo Ball.
7: Trail Blazers: F Jarace Walker (Houston)
There's a wide range of where Walker could get picked. Portland is an ideal landing spot for him given their need to add length and rebounding.
8. Magic PG Cason Wallace (Kentucky)
The Magic are more than set at the forward position for the long term. Without many alternative options, Wallace gives them a physical defensive guard.
9. Pacers: SF Cam Whitmore (Villanova)
It is hard to see Whitmore falling this far given his apparent NBA readiness and polished game as a wing. Indiana finds a steal here who should be ready to jump right in.
10 Dallas Mavericks: SF Gradey Dick (Kansas)
With or without Kyrie Irving, the Mavericks need more shooting around Luka Doncic. Dick, as a 40.3% 3-point shooter, provides that.
11. Magic (via Bulls): F Taylor Hendricks (UCF)
The best player available at this point in the draft. Plugging Hendricks in at the five as a floor spacer would benefit Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner.
12. Thunder: PG/SG Nick Smith Jr. (Arkansas)
Oklahoma City gets the opportunity to draft a player once regarded as a top-five prospect but was hindered by a knee injury. This is great chance for the Thunder to see what they can develop Smith into as most of their needs should be addressed in free agency.
13. Raptors: SG Keyonte George (Baylor)
George is a downhill driver who could not be slowed down at the college level. Toronto takes him to add to their guard depth.
14. Pelicans: PG/SG Kobe Bufkin (Michigan)
Bufkin has the full package as a point guard, he can run an offense and score at all three levels. He would be a nice piece to add to the Pelicans' offense.
What would it mean for the Wizards?
Any jump in the lottery would be a win for the Wizards and this year is the perfect year to do it. But the fact that in this scenario they would get the chance to select Scoot Henderson is the lottery gods doubling down on their luck. Henderson has the talent to compete for a starting spot right away at a critical position. More importantly, though, he would set them up to have their point guard of the future.
It couldn't come at a better time for Washington with Monte Morris and Delon Wright entering the final years of their contracts this season. Each of them would also provide a different skill set depending on the on-court lineup and paired in certain combinations.
The Wizards could balance the trio's minutes as they work Henderson more fully into the equation. However, there shouldn't be much, if any, delay in getting him up to speed. Already the 19-year-old has two years of experience playing against pros in the G League.
Henderson would be an ideal fit alongside Beal among the starters. Not only does Henderson have the craftiness and offensive creativity to set up Beal, but he also thrives in off-ball situations as well. His elite speed should boost Washington's transition game as well, likely being the reason why they run out on the break. Henderson also has shown an ability to compartmentalize his role and get his own buckets too when Beal and other playmakers may be on the bench.
Just because Henderson is available here in this scenario does not mean that would be the case in a real draft. It only happened with Detroit picking second and not needing another primary facilitator. If another team rises to No. 2, it is likely Henderson is off the board - which is not to say Washington should be disappointed about Brandon Miller. But Henderson does give the Wizards a franchise-altering star who should not need much development at the NBA level. If all goes well, Washington may have drafted their next All-Star.
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