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Washington Wizards Updates Ahead Of The NBA Draft Lottery

The Washington Wizards are about a month removed from its worst season in franchise history after a 15-67 campaign. Washington is now having to face an offseason that will require answers to questions that are detrimental to its future. The lowly Wizards head into the 2024 NBA Draft Lottery without a head coach as the franchise’s rebuild continues.

Washington Wizards Updates Ahead Of The NBA Draft Lottery

Wizards General Manager Will Dawkins to Represent Team at NBA Draft Lottery

Wizards’ general manager Will Dawkins will be present at this weekend’s NBA Draft Lottery. The annual draft lottery will take place Sunday afternoon, as the event involves the 14 teams that didn’t make the postseason. The event uses an actual lottery process to determine the draft order of the first four picks. However, Washington had the second-worst league record ahead of Detroit (14-68) so the likeliness of the Wizards getting the No. 1 pick is high. The Wizards are tied for the best odds to get the No. 1 pick with a 14% chance. Notably, they can drop no further than six on lottery day.

Additionally, Wizards rookie Bilal Coulibaly will be on stage during the Wizards lottery reveal, which further cements the franchise’s goodwill towards the 2023 rising star. The 2023 first-round pick showed flashes of high potential before having suffered a season-ending right wrist injury in March. Furthermore, Coulibaly was selected to participate in the Rising Stars game that took place at All-Star Weekend. The 19-year-old forward exhibited solid defensive ability and incredible poise, which are promising attributes for such a young player.

Besides, the draft lottery is extremely important for Washington, as this pick could very well be the cornerstone piece of its future.

CBS Sports Mock Draft Has Wizards Drafting Kentucky Guard

CBS Sports’s Gary Parrish released an NBA Mock draft that had Washington drafting Kentucky guard Reed Sheppard at No. 2 overall. Sheppard was one of college basketball’s biggest surprises last season. As a freshman, Sheppard averaged 12.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 4.5 assists while shooting 52.1% from three-point range.

The 6-foot-3 guard is accredited for his elite passing, shooting, and solid defensive ability. Furthermore, Sheppard earned SEC Freshman of the Year and second-team All-SEC honors in 2023. The 19-year-old guard would be essential to a Washington team that ranked 25th in the league in team three-point percentage.

As of now, the Wizards have Jordan Poole and Tyus Jones (expiring contract) on their roster as the team’s primary ball-handlers. Reed’s upside and leadership intangibles would prompt him to get heavy minutes as a rookie. If selected, does Washington let a veteran point guard such as Jones walk? It’s likely Poole will still have a significant role on the team, but will be on a very short leash.

The Wizards Are Still Without A Coach At The Helm

The Wizards fired former head coach Wes Unseld Jr. back in January after a 7-36 start.

Furthermore, Unseld Jr. led Washington to an overall record of 77-130 in 2 and a half seasons in Washington as the culture and morale continued to nosedive. The franchise promoted assistant coach Brian Keefe as interim head coach to finish the season, but the front office made it clear that they will go through an entire process of finding an adequate coach at the season’s end.

Keefe possesses a decade-plus of assistant coaching experience that included stops with the New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Lakers, and the Brooklyn Nets. Keefe is known for his ability to develop young talent such as star players Kevin Durant and James Harden. As interim head coach, Keefe led the Wizards to an 8-31 record. However, the unit under Keefe seemed more motivated and the young stars blossomed immensely such as Deni Avdija.

Should Washington bring in an established coach with a young roster that isn’t ready to contend? Or should the Wizards promote Keefe as the official coach due to his impressive track record of developing young talent? The 48-year-old Keefe can continue to develop Corey Kispert, Coulibaly, Avdija, and whoever the Wizards pick in the draft.

Washington is currently the only Eastern Conference team without a head coach, but outlets reported that Washington will start interviewing for the position next week. It is head-scratching that the front office will start the search a month after the season, but it’s clear that Keefe is the man for the job. 

The Last Word On Washington Wizards Updates Ahead Of The NBA Draft Lottery

The next few days for the 1978 NBA Champions will have an immense impact on its immediate and long-term future. As the Wizards rebuild continues, Washington will need to make calculated draft picks next month and a solid coach that can not only help evolve the young talent but also give the organization optimism of an upward trend.

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