The Washington Bullets changed their name to the Washington Wizards in 1997. Since then, the Wizards have had numerous NBA Draft lottery picks. Some have been great. Most have been busts and completely wasted. They have a chance to make some noise again this year, however.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at all the Wizard’s past lottery picks.
Richard Hamilton (1999): Wasted pick
- The Washington Wizards drafted Richard Hamilton seventh overall in the 1999 draft out of UConn.
- Hamilton played with the Wizards for three seasons.
- The shooting guard/small forward averaged 20 points per game in his third season in DC.
- The Wizards traded Hamilton and other pieces to the Pistons in exchange for All-Star Jerry Stackhouse.
Detroit Rock City: Drafting Hamilton was actually a great pick by the Wizards. He was a pure scorer and was becoming a star of the league. However, the Wizards threw him away by trading him. After being traded, Hamilton became a three time All-Star and helped lead the Pistons to their NBA Championship in 2004. Stackhouse did not bring much to the Wizards and was traded to Dallas for Antawn Jamison in 2004.
Kwame Brown (2001): Bust
- The Wizards selected center Kwame Brown with the No. 1 overall pick in 2001 out of high school.
- Brown is often regarded as one of the worst draft busts of all time.
- The center spent four seasons with the Wizards. His best year in DC was the 2003-2004 season when he averaged 10.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.
- Brown showed some potential in Washington. However, he feuded with many of his teammates as well as coach Eddie Jordan.
- Brown was traded to the Lakers for Caron Butler in 2005.
Facepalm: Being the top overall pick comes with a lot of pressure. Brown unfortunately never lived up to his hype. By drafting Brown, the Wizards missed out on great players from that draft, such as Tyson Chandler, Pau Gasol, and Joe Johnson. After his departure from Washington, Brown’s time in the league only went more downhill.
Jared Jeffries (2002): Bust
- Small forward Jared Jeffries out of Indiana was drafted 11th overall by the Washington Wizards in 2002.
- Jeffries tore his ACL during the beginning of his rookie year.
- During his sophomore year, he played in all 82 games, but only averaged 5.7 points.
- In his third and fourth year in DC, Jeffries was a consistent starter, but failed to have much of an impact on the court.
- Jeffries left Washington by signing with the Knicks in 2006.
Weak draft class: Jeffries did not pan out as the Wizards had hoped and is another lottery pick they would like to have back. However, the 2002 draft was relatively weak. The two main players the Wizards missed out on was Tayshaun Prince and Carlos Boozer.
Jarvis Hayes (2003): Bust
- With the 10th overall pick in the 2003 draft, the Wizards selected shooting guard Jarvis Hayes out of Georgia.
- Hayes looked promising his rookie year, starting in 42 games and averaging 9.6 points per game.
- Over the next two seasons, Hayes faced multiple knee injuries, forcing him to sit out many games. Hayes stated, “My second year, me and Manu Ginobili bumped knees. It cracked open, and never completely healed.”
- Hayes decided not to opt for surgery. While on the sidelines, he gained a lot of weight and his play dropped off dramatically when he came back on the court.
- Hayes left DC and signed with the Pistons in 2007.
Cesspool on the Potomac: Hayes was another Washington Wizards draft bust. By drafting Hayes in 2003, the Wizards missed out on getting players like Kyle Korver, David West, Mo Williams, and Josh Howard, to come play in DC and bring greatness to the city.
2009 Draft Pick: Wasted
- The Wizards had the fifth overall pick in the 2009 draft.
- Instead of making a selection, they traded the pick to the T-Wolves for Mike Miller and Randy Foye.
- The T-Wolves used the pick to draft Ricky Rubio.
- By trading the pick, the Wizards missed out on Rubio as well as Stephen Curry, DeMar DeRozan, Jrue Holiday, and Jeff Teague.
- Miller and Foye each only spent one season in DC.
Air ball: The Wizards literally threw this pick away and missed out on a chance to add some real talent to the roster.
John Wall (2010): Superstar
- With the first overall pick in the 2010 draft, the Wizards drafted point guard John Wall out of Kentucky.
- Wall led the Wizards to four playoff appearances since he was drafted.
- Wall is a five time All-Star who can oftentimes wow on the court, and he’s still with the team.
- For his career, Wall averages 19 points, 9.2 assists, and 1.7 steals per game.
Another brick in the wall: Finally something went right for the Wizards in the lottery! John Wall brought success and hope to a franchise in shambles. He became the leader of the team and has marked his place in Wizards history.
Jan Vesely (2011): Bust
- With the sixth overall pick in the 2011 draft, the Wizards selected power forward Jan Vesely from the Czech Republic.
- Vesely spent two and a half seasons in DC. He spent much of his time as a Wizard riding the bench.
- Vesely averaged 3.5 points and 3.4 rebounds per game for his career as a Wizard.
- The Wizards traded Vesely in 2014 to the Nuggets for Andre Miller.
Czech check, one two: Vesely was a complete flop. He never showed potential or developed into anything — not even a role player. Vesely was quickly out of the league after his departure from Washington. By drafting Vesely, the Wizards missed out on Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, and Jimmy Butler.
Bradley Beal (2012): Star
- With the third overall pick in the 2012 draft, the Wizards selected shooting guard Bradley Beal out of Florida.
- Beal was hit with many injuries early in his career. However, it was clear that he was developing into a star player.
- Beal is a two time All-Star and is currently one of the Wizard’s best players.
- For his career in Washington, Beal averages 19.8 points per game and shoots over 38% from three.
What a feeling: Another rare hit for the Wizards in the lottery. Beal is developing into one of the best players in the league.
Otto Porter (2013): Mediocre
- With the third overall pick in the 2013 draft, the Wizards took small forward Otto Porter out of Georgetown.
- Porter spent five and a half seasons in Washington.
- Porter was a knock down three point shooter, shooting 40% over his time in Washington.
- To clear some salary cap space, Porter was traded to the Bulls in 2019 for Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis.
Bullshot: Otto Porter was never a star player. However, he was a solid starter who could consistently knock down three pointers. Some nights he played like a star. Other nights it would be hard to notice that he was even on the court.
The Bottom Line: The Wizards have historically sucked in the draft. Year after year, they have missed out on stars in the league by drafting busts or wasting their pick. The Wizards are again in the lottery this year with the sixth highest lottery odds. With a new general manager, let’s see if this year will be any different.