When the NBA draft lottery took place Tuesday evening, there was a lot of buzz surrounding who would obtain the first overall selection.
Most of that buzz surrounded the pitiful New Jersey Nets and their new owner, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, who had a 25 percent chance of obtaining that first pick. Like most lotteries go, the balls did not work out in Prokhorov and the Nets’ favor.
Instead, the Washington Wizards won the first pick in a rather unexpected turn of events, while the Philadelphia 76ers obtained the second overall pick and the aforementioned Nets received the third pick.
When ESPN’s live telecast showed former Kentucky Wildcats point guard John Wall’s reaction as the Wizards won the first pick, his face was priceless.
And I mean that in the worst way possible.
Wall gave a half-smile, similar to an expression a female will make to a desperate guy hitting on her at a bar. It was the look of resentment, as if he was thinking aloud Why didn’t I stay one more year?
Even though Wall hasn’t been chosen yet as the first overall pick, he is the consensus choice to be selected on draft day. As a young point guard and another one of John Calipari’s college products, Wall has the potential to be another Derrick Rose or Tyreke Evans.
The only problem is that Washington presents a situation in which it is hard to succeed for a rookie like Wall.
The current Wizards are not like the Wizards of old. Gilbert Arenas got into major legal trouble with his gun predicament, and the team traded away its two star players in Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison.
When you consider those big losses with aging players like Mike Miller, Earl Boykins and Fabricio Oberto, the nucleus presents more challenges than opportunities.
I guess that is why the Wizards lucked out to get the first pick—and, essentially, the rights to select John Wall--in the first place, but the team is still considerably young.
Players like Nick Young and Shaun Livingston haven’t really panned out in the NBA thus far, although players like Al Thornton, Andray Blatche and Randy Foye have potential to get better. It’s a young team with many voids to fill.
The Wizards will take Wall because he is the best player available and plays a position in which great players are hard to come by, not to mention Calipari’s track record for grooming pro-ready players.
Whether Wall can be a facilitator as well as a scorer is the big question mark surrounding his abilities. He struggled at times to get his teammates involved in his only season at Kentucky, and he will be looked upon for instant improvement to the Wizards’ entire team.
It is a tall task for any rookie, but with the Wizards’ roster, it will take plenty more than one John Wall to bring the franchise back from the doldrums and into competitive waters.