Wizards landing 9th pick could have domino effect on free agents, GM search, Bradley Beal's future

Chase Hughes
NBC Sports Washington

Wizards landing 9th pick could have domino effect on free agents, GM search, Bradley Beal's future originally appeared on nbcsportswashington.com

The Wizards entered Tuesday night's draft lottery hoping for some luck just like everyone else. For them, there was a little extra on the line.

It was arguably their last chance for a quick, overnight fix as they teeter on the edge of a potential rebuild. If they had landed one of the top three picks, and especially No. 1, that would have given them a jumpstart. They would have been jolted back into relevancy and perhaps back into the playoffs as soon as next year.

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But with how things went down, it was a reminder that this thing may take some time to fix. Whoever takes over as the long-term team president won't have a silver bullet to change the team's course. The ninth pick offers no instant-impact guarantees.

The Wizards falling to ninth in the draft instead of moving up could also have repercussions for some of their individual players. Take their free agents, for instance.

The opportunity to land Ja Morant will now not be a factor in deciding whether or not to bring back point guard Tomas Satoransky. Even if they get Coby White of North Carolina or Darius Garland of Vanderbilt, they would need another competent point guard with John Wall's long-term injury absence. Those guys are good, but not 'here's the franchise, kid' good.

Top forward prospects like R.J. Barrett or De'Andre Hunter could have changed the Wizards' outlook on Jabari Parker and Trevor Ariza. But now they are unlikely to land a ready-made franchise player at the position.

What could be interesting is if they end up with big man Jaxson Hayes of Texas. He is one of the best rim protectors in the draft and they already have Dwight Howard and Ian Mahinmi under contract with Thomas Bryant and Bobby Portis as restricted free agents. 

None of those players should force the Wizards to draft for need instead of best player available, but if Hayes is the pick, it could change their thinking in the frontcourt.

Landing a top pick may have given the Wizards a bump entering free agency as they look outside of the organization, but that won't be the case. They won't have much money to spend unless they renounce all of their own restricted free agents and stretch Mahinmi's contract. Even then, it's tough to see them landing a marquee player.

Losing out in the lottery is not the end of the world for the Wizards, but it will probably extend the time it will take for them to get back to where they want to be.

That may have an effect on whom they keep in free agency. It may even alter Bradley Beal's future and the likelihood the Wizards end up trading him, as their path to playoff contention may not match up with his next contract, supermax or not.

And that is not to mention their search for a team president. Though the job is already attracting strong candidates, landing a top pick would have given the team more leverage.

Going from the sixth-best odds to ninth instead of moving up may change plenty for the Wizards in the coming years. All thanks to some ping-pong balls.


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