Wednesday was a big night on the D.C. sports scene. The Nationals were trying to avoid the sweep in Miami (lost 5-3 to the Marlins), the Wizards were hoping to win the lottery, but instead slipped to No. 3 (what did you expect?), and Team USA was hosting Brazil in a soccer friendly at Fed Ex Field.
Unfortunately, much like the home team that plays American Football at Fed Ex Field, Team USA did not have much luck against Brazil, losing 4-1. Even RGIII could not rally Team USA, and hopefully that is not a sign of things to come for the 'Skins franchise QB on his home field. He did pick up a really cool jersey ... well, cool if you like stripes.
Brazil executes like they're the San Antonio Spurs of soccer, but I bet we would crush Brazil in American football ... if only they had a team.
In this week's edition of Chain Reactions we hit on the unlucky draw for the Wizards at the lottery, ask who could be on the radar at No. 3, and wonder whether Randy Wittman be back?
Lady Luck Rejects Wizards
Only a "nutty optimist" would have expected the Wizards to win a second draft lottery in three years. In terms of Wizards luck, it was not all bad falling just a spot to No. 3. Also, consider that fellow Southeast Division Lottery regular Charlotte did not win it despite
their tank job just 9 wins and a 23-game losing streak to end the season. Instead, the former Charlotte franchise, the New Orleans Hornets, leaped forward to claim the top pick, likely Kentucky's Anthony Davis. A nice "Welcome to the NBA" gift for owner Tom Benson. I bet he likes David Stern much more than Roger GOD-ell right now.
It is disappointing that we will not be able to see a surge of "unibrow" growth in the DMV in support of Davis. But if you are a longtime fan of the Bullets/Wizards organization, you know it could have been worse. Much worse. The Wizards avoided the complete freefall to 5 or the two-spot drop to 4. A one-spot drop feels a little like a victory after all the draft lottery tragedies of the past.
Owner Ted Leonsis trusted his son, Zachary, with the role of onstage good luck charm, but he came up a little short. A top 3 pick means the Wizards should be selecting a player that is going to be a rotation player or starter immediately. It is now up to another person the owner showed trust in, Ernie Grunfeld to make the 3rd overall pick count.
Who's No. 3?
So go ahead and take Kentucky's Anthony Davis off your big board, Wizards fans. Who does that leave at No. 3? A lot of interesting possibilities that start with Davis' teammate, small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and includes Florida shooting guard Bradley Beal, Kansas power forward Thomas Robinson (from D.C.), North Carolina small forward Harrison Barnes, and UConn's big man, Andre Drummond.
This is a huge draft for Grunfeld, who most fans want out of here. Grunfeld has close to zero room for error when it comes to making this pick work. He can't afford a project. No. 3 needs to be an impact guy right away.
"We feel really good about where we are," Grunfeld said. "I don’t know if it’s a specific position we’re looking for, but I think we’ll have our pick of someone that can be a solid piece for us."
There is also the possibility of using the pick in a package to bring in an impact veteran, but shortly after the lottery results, Ted Leonsis ended that speculation.
"This, fortunately, is a deep draft. We won’t be trading the third pick in the draft."
I had a chance to speak with John Wall before the lottery and on his wish list for the Wizards was a veteran shooting guard and a veteran power forward. Honestly, when you win 20 games, all positions are in play. Certainly, the Wizards need shooters, scorers, rebounders and also guys that possess high character.
Two of the three stooges have been moved with the trades of Nick Young and Javale McGee, and Andray Blatche should be gone in the near future. If he's not, someone should have their head examined. It was telling to me that Wall mentioned the need for veterans. The window for Washington to wow Wall is shrinking. The Wizards need to show serious progress this season, and certainly in the next two years, if they want to keep him around long-term.
Last week in this spot, I mentioned that it would be smart for the Wizards to at least give Jerry Sloan a call. He is clearly interested in coaching again, if he would talk to the sorry Bobcats. A source at the Wizards told me I was wasting bandwidth because the coaching position was not really open.
Randy Wittman is under contract, and so is his staff. Grunfeld even professed the organization's faith in Wittman on the radio with me this week. However, he kept using the "he's under contract" card when asked if Wittman was the coach. Since that conversation, I have been told by sources it is probably just a matter of time before it is made official, but it is not yet. It should be resolved before the draft though.
Owner Ted Leonsis gave his two cents to Michael Lee about Wittman's future at the lottery.
"Everyone thought that Randy did a fantastic job," Leonsis said, adding that he felt "very, very comfortable" with Wittman.
The Wizards, I have been told, have not even spoken to any other coaches at this point. Perhaps they wanted to see the lottery results before truly committing. If they had won, the job would have been more attractive to high profile guys like Sloan. The safe money is on Wittman returning with his staff. It just has yet to become "official."