The most important day of the NBA calendar for Wizards fans is upon us -- The NBA Draft Lottery. Tonight, the Wizards will learn just how far back they'll move when the ping pong balls have stopped bouncing.
Sitting eighth by virtue of their all-in chase for that elusive ninth "seed," the most likely outcome is the team staying right where they are and ending up with the eighth selection. Here are the chances for each of Washington's possibilities tonight (ordered from greatest likelihood to least):
8th pick -- 70.2%
9th pick -- 16.5%
3rd pick -- 4.8%
2nd pick -- 4.1%
1st pick -- 3.5%
10th pick -- 0.8%
11th pick -- 0.1%
Between now and draft day, you're going to hear the "This Draft Is The Suck" anthem. In my analysis, using my draft database (dubbed Ye Olde Draft Analyzer -- YODA for short), there doesn't look to be an all-time elite at the top, but there are a number of players with the potential to be contributors at the NBA level. There are potential All-Stars as well -- depending on how hard and smart they work.
Before presenting YODA's first look at the 2013 draft, a few words about it. YODA is based on a player's NCAA production and his physical measurements and athletic tests at the NBA draft combines. Why use the combine athletic data? Because it's the publicly available OBJECTIVE measure of a player's athletic ability.
YODA takes each player's per minute stats, adjusts for age/class, position and level of competition, incorporates the combine data and spits out a final grade. Also, there's an assessment of a player's handsomeness. (Just kidding on that last one.) If a player doesn't participate in a draft combine, there is no bonus/penalty awarded for size or athleticism.
For today, I'm presenting players by their "tiers" in YODA -- I'll dig in deeper with more information from the database as we get closer to the draft.
Tiers are, in effect, broad groupings of players who are approximately the same level of prospect. The tiers run from 10 to zero (well, technically there are a handful of guys who somehow achieved negative tiers -- two of them (JJ Reddick and Nazr Mohammed went on to play in the NBA, so go figure). Here are the tiers with sample players for each.
EDIT -- nate33 over at RealGM suggested I change some of the sample players. So, I've done that in a few places to show a more "representative" player.
1 -- Shaquille O'Neal (SO) -- Shaq's the only guy to hit this level.
2 -- No one. Yeah, that's how outlandish Shaq was that year. No other player in my ever-growing database has even reached a 9.
3 -- Anthony Davis (FR), Shaquille O'Neal (JR), Kevin Love (FR), Hakeem Olajuwon (SO), Kevin Durant (FR)
4 -- Patrick Ewing (SR, JR, FR), Grant Hill (JR), Tim Duncan (SR), Elton Brand (SO), Shawn Marion (FR)
5 -- Chris Webber (FR), Shane Battier (SR), Elton Brand (FR), Paul Millsap (JR) Dwyane Wade (SO & FR), John Wall (FR), Kenyon Martin (JR), Carmelo Anthony (FR), Joakim Noah (JR)
6 -- Jason Kidd (FR), Al Horford (JR), Stephen Curry (JR), James Harden (FR), Chris Wilcox (SO), Gilbert Arenas (SO), Rudy Gay (SO), Josh Howard (SR)
7 -- Cole Aldrich (FR), Alec Burks (SO), Mario Chalmers (SO), Brandon Roy (JR), Greg Monroe (SO), David Lee (FR), Nate Robinson (JR), Etan Thomas (SR)
8 -- Steve Blake (JR), Javale McGee (SO), Jeff Taylor (SR), Danny Granger (FR), Chris Singleton (JR)
9 -- Matt Barnes (SO), Morris Almond (JR), Robert Sacre (SO), Jared Jeffries (SO), Tyshawn Taylor (SR), Lance Goulbourne (SR), Ryan Gomes (SR)
10 -- Garrett Temple (FR & JR), Morris Almond (SO), Vernon Macklin (SR), Darius Miller (FR)
Got all that? There's a quiz later.
Basically, the higher the tier, the more likely the player is to be a better pro. To merit a first round pick, a player needs to land in tier 4 or higher. Tier 3 are second rounders.
So, with all that preamble, here's this year's draft by tier (note, no one rated into tiers 1, 2 or 3):
Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
Cody Zeller, C, Indiana
Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga
Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV
Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse
Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, PG, Georgia
Shane Larkin, PG, Miami
Reggie Bullock, SF, North Carolina
C.J. McCollum, SG, Lehigh
Tyrus McGee, SG, Iowa State
Jeff Withey, C, Kansas
Mason Plumlee, PF, Duke
James Southerland, SF, Syracuse
D.J. Stephens, PF, Memphis
Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA
Alex Oriakhi, PF, Missouri
Arsalan Kazemi, PF, Oregon
Zeke Marshall, C, Akron
Mike Muscala, C, Bucknell
Nate Wolters, PG, South Dakota State
Ray McCallum, PG, Detroit Mercy
Elias Harris, SF, Gonzaga
Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State
Russ Smith, PG, Louisville
Allen Crabbe, SG, California
Gregory Echenique, C, Creighton
Alex Len, C, Maryland
Kevin Young, SF, Kanas
I could keep going, but that's a first round worth of names, plus a few into the second round.
At the top, Oladipo looks to be just as good a prospect as recent first overall selections like Kyrie Irving (tier 5) and John Wall (tier 5). He's not a historically good prospect like Anthony Davis, but he has the tools and production of a player who should be an excellent pro.
Cody Zeller (tier 5) would be another worthy top overall pick in many drafts, and would be a top 2-3 pick in virtually every class.