May 19th has finally come, the night the Wizards find out the value of their draft pick asset. With a 17.8 percent chance to win the top choice, second only to Sacramento's 25 percent chance, faithful fans hope that a little luck in the lottery might just reverse the cursed existence of Les Boulez.
No, this draft won't yield a franchise changer. The Wiz, whose injuries kept them from going to the playoffs for a fifth straight year, aren't depending on the pick to put them in the playoff conversation anyway.
In fact, no team in this year's lottery could reasonably have all their eggs in the No. 1 pick basket, such as Rick Pitino's false hope that Tim Duncan would revive the Celtics in '97, or the entire state of Ohio's dream that landed local boy LeBron in their lap in '03. The consensus number one Blake Griffin is great, but he's not pegged to be a surefire hall of famer.
Griffin, out of Oklahoma, and Spain's Ricky Rubio are two prospects who've separated themselves from the rest of the bunch at the crap table. Not to say that the draft couldn't generate a late pick all-star, such as Michael Redd, chosen by Ernie Grunfeld, to the Bucks at 43rd in '00, or even a Gilbert Arenas, taken 30th by Golden State in '01.
The Wizards GM, now with his hand-picked coach in tow, has the fate of the franchise in his hands. The duo will represent the team on draft night, Grunfeld working behind the scenes in the lottery room and Flip Saunders on stage, the hope of turning a new leaf staring down a ghost of the franchise past in the form of oft-injured and unjustly traded Chris Webber, who will represent the Kings.
The Wizards have just over a 35 percent chance of landing in the top two, meaning that there's about a 65 percent chance of Grunfeld maneuvering a trade leading up to the June 25th draft night, as most would expect. Tune in to ESPN at 8 p.m. to find out if the Wizards will see their lottery shadow, retreating back into a curse hole, or if they'll emerge triumphant, ready to spring into next season with the number one.