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Wizards have small chance at top lottery pick

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Sports,NBA,Wizards,Craig Stouffer

Wizards could fall as far as eleventh pick

Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld's preferred refrain when it comes to the NBA Draft goes something like this: "We can only choose the players that are available to us."

Unless the Wizards make a rare jump forward when the winners of the 2013 NBA Draft Lottery are revealed Tuesday in Manhattan, there will be fewer players available than have been in half a decade. The Wizards enter this year's lottery with the eighth-best odds (3.5 percent) of winning - and a 12.3 percent chance to end up in the top three - after losing a tiebreaker with Detroit. Aside from winning the top prize in 2001 and 2010, they've failed to move up in 14 of the 16 lotteries in which they've participated.

If they don't garner one of the top three positions, the only spots determined by the lottery, the Wizards could fall as far as the 11th pick. At Nos. 8 through 11, they will have their lowest pick since 2008, which came on the heels of their last playoff appearance.

Up Next
2013 NBA Draft Lottery
Where » Disney/ABC Times Square Studios,
  New York
When » Tuesday, 8:25 p.m.
TV » ESPN

The Wizards have tasked last year's third overall pick, Bradley Beal, with influencing their luck in the proceedings.

"Feels pretty good, because the pick lies in my hands, so to speak," Beal recently said in an interview with the team's website. "I'm really excited. Not a lot of people get to experience this. Hopefully, we can get somebody who can benefit our team and hopefully, we're in the area where we'll get a good pick as well."

The gap between potential outcomes led the Wizards front office to interview a number of the top draft candidates during the NBA combine in Chicago last week. In exit interviews, a number of Wizards players expressed their desire for a "stretch four," a big man who can step out and shoot and additional depth in the backcourt. The Wizards also have frontcourt needs with lingering questions over Nene's durability and a year left on the contract of Emeka Okafor, who is expected to decline his early termination option.

A top-three selection would complete a formidable franchise trio alongside Beal and John Wall, the top overall pick in 2010. Following his standout sophomore season with Georgetown, 6-foot-8 forward Otto Porter Jr. is expected to be in the mix, but he isn't projected to last outside of the top five or six picks. Neither are 6-11 Kentucky center Nerlens Noel or 6-3 Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore.

Maryland sophomore center Alex Len is more likely to be among the potential options should the Wizards remain at No. 8. The Ukrainian 7-footer recently underwent surgery for a partial stress fracture in his ankle and is expected to be out for 4-6 months. Gonzaga center Kelly Olynyk, another 7-footer, is also expected to be available with a later choice. So should 6-3 Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum, who put himself on the national radar in an upset win over Duke in the 2012 NCAA tournament and is coming off a broken foot suffered in January.

The Wizards also have second-round picks at Nos. 37 and 54. The draft takes place June 27 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

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