That means the Wizards will have the second-best odds of winning the NBA draft lottery on May 30 and will pick no worse than fifth in the draft June 28 since the top three spots are determined by the lottery. With a worst-case scenario in mind, there are some big-name players almost certain to be available at No. 5 who shouldn't become Wizards:
Perry Jones III, PF, Baylor, and John Henson, PF, North Carolina » The best thing about the arrival of Nene, the emergence of Kevin Seraphin and even the incremental progress of Jan Vesely is that Washington shouldn't be tempted to bring in another project big man. With versatility, skill and length, the 6-foot-11 Jones and the 6-11 Henson both threaten to be top-10 choices who will help wherever they land. Jones is the poster for upside, and Henson averaged 10.1 and 9.9 rebounds the past two years. But neither player has a clear position in the NBA, and they also don't trump what the Wizards already have. Plus, the Wizards should have learned from the JaVale McGee experiment.
Jared Sullinger, PF/C, Ohio State » The 6-foot-9 Sullinger might have been a top-five pick if he had come out last year. This year he should narrowly miss out. Even though he's as polished as anyone at his position -- and the Wizards have been desperate for a rugged rebounder since, well, forever -- the NCAA tournament made it clear he's going to have trouble in the NBA against length.
Austin Rivers, SG, Duke » Rivers is going to be a star in the NBA. He's overflowing with confidence and charisma, and he's got the talent and pedigree to back it up. The Wizards already have their superstar in point guard John Wall (meaning no need for North Carolina's Kendall Marshall, either). What they need is a complementary elite scorer in the backcourt, not another main attraction.
- Craig Stouffer