With the Washington Wizards Fifth Pick, the D.C. Sports Woes Continue

Jarrett CarterAnalyst IMay 20, 2009

WASHINGTON - MAY 2: Brendan Haywood #33 of the Washington Wizards gets the ball knocked away by LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2008 NBA Playoffs at the Verizon Center on May 2, 2008 in Washington, DC. The Cavaliers won 105-88 to advance to the next round. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

The Washington Wizards could do no worse than fifth in tonight’s NBA Draft Lottery.

The consensus was that fate would somehow be on our side, eschewing the pain that it brought to the Wizards this season, the absolute meltdown of the Nationals and the mediocrity that is Washington’s football team, and bring us at least a shot at Blake Griffin or Ricky Rubio.

Instead, the worst possible situation played out and the Wizards now dwell in the land of the busts, ‘tweeners and journeymen.

Since 2000, there are very few players picked fifth that will catch your fancy. Dwyane Wade in 2003, and Devin Harris (drafted by the Wizards and later traded) in 2004. Other members of the fifth pick fraternity in the last 10 years include this admirable roster:

2008 - Kevin Love - Can throw a chest pass the full length of the court, and rebounds pretty well.

2007 - Jeff Green - The former Hoya teams with Kevin Durant to make a young, but developing, core of players in OK City.

2006 - Sheldon Williams - Claim to fame is mysteriously bagging superstar Candace Parker.

2005 - Raymond Felton - Up and down with the Bobcats, but may blossom under Larry Brown.

2002 - Nikoloz Tsikitishvili - Bust.

2001 - Jason Richardson - Eh. He has his moments

2000 - Mike Miller - Eh squared.

So this is what the Wizards are working with in this year’s draft. They could hit and find a perfect complement to Gilbert Arenas, who will come in, work diligently, and believe in winning. Or they find themselves with and underachiever throwing shades of Kwame around the Verizon Center.

If there’s anyone with the eye for talent to fit with the pieces in place, it’s Ernie Grunfeld.

But make no mistake; this will be his make-or-break draft.

Wizards fans have grown weary of Andray Blatche, and are in wait and see mode with Nick Young and JaVale McGee. Dominic McGuire has exceeded expectations, but Wizards fans are looking to get a reputable player that addresses a genuine need for the club, which is perimeter defense and work ethic.

A lot is riding on such a spare tire of a pick for the Washington Wizards.

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