SNIDER: Wiz must get lucky to land Zion

Rick Snider
May 13, 2019 - 12:30 pm

The Wizards need to win the lottery to revive the franchise.

Duke’s Zion Williamson may only be the team’s second-best player behind Bradley Beal, but the forward would be the team’s best draft pick since the latter’s 2012 arrival. Williamson could fill seats at Capital One Arena and revive interest in a team that bottomed out last year at 30-52.

Of course, the Wiz need a lot of luck when the NBA decides its draft order on Tuesday. Washington has a nine percent chance of getting the first overall choice in the lottery system and nearly a 37.2 percent opportunity for a top four choice. And now that Ernie Grunfeld is no longer running the team, there’s actually hope it won’t be some developmental player in Europe who never sees the U.S.

Washington won the 2010 lottery and took John Wall, who has been a terrific but injury-prone player who will probably miss next season after just missing half of the past one. Wall will be 29 years old in September and hobbling on bad wheels. His best days are past him, and the Wiz need to move on with new stars even when he returns.

Williamson was the most exciting college player in years. He can revive the franchise, excite the crowd and win some games. The Wiz have to get lucky to land him, but certainly, Grunfeld’s overdue exit provides some optimism.

Plan B doesn’t stink should Washington still pick in the top five. Ja Morant, RJ Barrett, De'Andre Hunter and Jarrett Culver would all help this team. Even getting Maryland’s Bruno Fernando would be fun to watch.

But grab your lucky rabbit’s foot and rub really hard, because the Wiz need some luck in the name of Zion.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks