2022 NBA Draft Lottery Simulator: Wizards ignore need, take Chet Holmgren No. 2

The Wizards are back in the NBA Draft Lottery slated for May 17, which means we’re rediscovering the fun of the tankathon at NBC Sports Washington. It’s a great site that has many features, but one in particular that is particularly addictive. You can simulate the lottery, all with a click of a button.

It’s so much fun we thought we’d turn it into a series about the Wizards and go through all of their draft lottery scenarios. There are essentially seven different ways the ping-pong balls could fall on Washington. They have the 10th best odds, giving them a 13.9 percent chance of finishing in the top four and an 86.1 percent chance of picking 10th, 11th, or 12th.

We’re going to go through each scenario one at a time, and today we’re going to move on to the scenario where the Wizards land #2 overall pick…

Lottery simulation results

It took us 22 attempts at Tankathon’s lottery simulation to get the Wizards 2nd overall. You only have a 3.3 percent chance of picking first place overall, so it would take some luck. In this scenario, the Wizards pick second, the Magic-Picks pick first, and the Pacers, Pistons, and Rockets round out the top five. The Wizards moved up eight spots in #2 while the Rockets fell four spots from the lottery’s top spot to fifth overall.

The purpose of this exercise is to create a hypothetical board for the casters to evaluate their options. In this case, where they pick second overall, they can pick just about any player they want in the draft. Needless to say, it would be an ideal situation.

Lottery Simulation Token Design

1. Magic: Jabari Smith Jr. (Maroon)

There’s no consensus on the first pick in the standings just yet, but the current favorite is Smith Jr., thanks to his size, skill and potential to transform into an elite two-way force as a winger. The Magic, who already have a roster of big men, choose Smith Jr. over Holmgren in this scenario. If the Wizards end up picking the No. 1, Smith Jr. would be the best option for them too.

2nd Wizard: Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga)

Getting the number 2 would put the wizards in an interesting place. They could decide if they need a point guard and target Jaden Ivey or go for the best player on the board. At this point, that player is Holmgren, who would cause a little unicorn log jam with Kristaps Porzingis on the caster roster.

However, the choice here is still Holmgren. General manager Tommy Sheppard has insisted the team will pick the best player available regardless of the need, so Porzingis’ presence in the squad shouldn’t change that mindset.

The seven-footer averaged about 14 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks as a freshman at Gonzaga while shooting 60% from the floor and 39% from threes with decent volume. Holmgren has a chance to be a generational talent as a big man with rare two-way versatility. If those types of players are available, just take them and weed out the rest later.

3. Pacer: Jaden Ivey (Purdue)

The Pacers already have Tyrese Haliburton on the roster, but Ivey would be a great addition as a top scorer alongside an experienced playmaker at Haliburton.

4th Piston: Paolo Banchero (Duke)

Big two-way wings are the most valuable asset in the NBA, and the Pistons already have some in Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey and Jerami Grant. Why not pick another one with some all-star potential?

5. Rockets: Keegan Murray (Iowa)

The Rockets add Murray to an already exciting young core with Jalen Green, who was averaging over 22 points per game in the final month of his rookie year.

6. Thunder: Shaedon Sharpe (Kentucky)

Sharpe has star potential, he just needs some time to develop. The Thunder has no desire to win any time soon, so he will have plenty of time to hone his skills in OKC.

7. Trailblazer: AJ Griffin (Duke)

The Blazers need to be in talent acquisition mode, and Griffin certainly has a ton of talent.

8. Kings: Bennedict Mathurin (Arizona)

The Kings haven’t made the playoffs since 2006, so they could take a big hit against a player like Mathurin, who has the tools to become a star two-way winger if developed properly.

9. Pelicans: TyTy Washington (Kentucky)

The Pelicans likely need a little more depth of cover and are taking Washington as a player who could become a star if CJ McCollum rides the tail end of his prime in New Orleans.

10. Spurs: Jalen Duren (Memphis)

Spurs need a little more size and rim protection and could deal a blow to Duren as the youngest player in the draft. They did the same thing with Josh Primo a year ago.

11: Knicks: Johnny Davis (Wisconsin)

Davis is a bucket getter, plain and simple. While the Knicks could use more playmaking to help Julius Randle keep a better eye on the ground, Davis offers value as a great two-way guard.

12: Thunder: Bennedict Mathurin (Arizona)

The Thunder went wings again with their first pick-and-go wing here, showing the importance of having two-way versatility in the postseason.

13: Hornets: Tari Eason (LSU)

Eason would give the Hornets a quality wingback that could be an ideal complement to LaMelo Ball and Charlotte’s burgeoning, high-profile offense.

14: Cavaliers: Ochai Agbaji (Kansas)

Cleveland have shown this season that they are closer to fighting than many thought and in Agbaji they would get a solid and smart two-keeper who could make an immediate contribution.

What would that mean for the wizards?

While the second pick and Chet Holmgren would likely spark some tough front office decisions, it’s almost an ideal scenario for a Wizards team that has hovered at the bottom end of the East’s playoff picture for four years.

Would Holmgren mean a combination of Porzingis, Daniel Gafford or Rui Hachimura would have to be traded to buy minutes for the young big man? Probably, but if Holmgren fulfills his potential nobody will think twice about what it took to get him to this point.

There are many risks associated with Holmgren. His height and lean build could prevent him against stronger bigs in the NBA, and historically, bigs who play like guards don’t tend to stay healthy. Just take a look at Porzingis’ injury history to get an idea. Those factors paint a picture of why Jabari Smith Jr. would likely be a better pick between the two, but in this case he’s off the board so it’s the next best player available for Washington.







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