Suns lotto watch: The Wizards Draft Pick

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Wizards are presently 10th in the Eastern conference and tied with Utah for the 12th worst record in the NBA. This sounds pretty good for Suns fans since we own their pick in this year's draft as long as they don't suddenly collapse (or get very lucky in the lottery) and wind up with one of the top nine draft picks.

Barring another injury to a key player, a collapse seems unlikely. But if say John Wall is suddenly lost for the rest of the season... well, the Wiz would still have a fairly comfortable lead over the 8th/9th tied Knicks and Nuggets but I think that they might just pull the plug on the rest of this season and try to tank hard enough to keep their draft pick. They would probably have to lose all of the rest of their games this season to have a real shot at it but it could be possible.

At 33-35, they are 5.5 games ahead of both the Knicks and the Nuggets. The Wiz have only 14 games left and those games are equally distributed between playoff bound teams and lottery bound teams. Nine of their remaining games are away games but four of those are against lottery teams. All of that seems to point to them finishing somewhere out of the top nine in the draft and the Suns will get their pick this year. It's certainly possible that they could get lucky in the lottery and retain their pick this year but it has been very rare that a team outside of the bottom 10 has gotten lucky enough to move up.

But then there is also the possibility that the Wizards actually move up and out of the lottery into the 8th seed in the Eastern playoffs. That spot presently belongs to Chicago with Detroit behind them at #9. But Washington is only 1.5 games behind Chicago, 1 game behind Detroit and the Wizards have already won their season series' against both teams so all they really have to do is tie them to reach the playoffs. While the 15th pick in the draft doesn't sound that bad, the Wizards are also only one game back of both Houston and Dallas and 1.5 games behind Portland (all presently playoff bound teams in the West) in the overall standings so it is possible that Washington could pass some of them and their pick could end up as high as #18. Not likely, but possible.

So there it is. Although the Suns will most likely get the Wizards' pick this year, exactly where it will fall is still very much up in the air. My bet is on it staying in the 12-14 range but nothing is guaranteed.