Lottery a Lose-Lose for the Wizards? Media Scrambles, Basement Dust & Emperor Grunfeld | Wizards Blog Truth About

Lottery a Lose-Lose for the Wizards? Media Scrambles, Basement Dust & Emperor Grunfeld

Updated: May 22, 2013

Emperor Ernie Grunfeld, more formally known as Washington’s Team President of Basketball Operations, discusses the ever-evolving process, which is more NeverEnding Story (the movie) and less Law & Order (an episode). Grunfeld also reveals that the Cleveland Cavaliers actually won twice. After winning the first pick, Cleveland also won the third pick, so they had to re-draw and Washington’s combination came up.

Here is a secret of the NBA Draft Lottery, which, by revealing, will result in me being sequestered, along with the ping pong ball machine, for the next calendar year with only a representative from Ernst & Young for company. My general assumption was that the NBA took a commercial break before announcing the top three picks to build drama for the audience watching at home. This is true and effective to a large degree, but the real reason they take that commercial break is so that the assembled media hoard can descend three flights of stairs, run across the street under the escort of New York’s finest, and get cordoned off in the basement of the studio in which the show is taking place. It was there, surrounded by machinery lifts, cameras that have been put out to pasture, and around 100 sweating reporters, that I learned that the Wizards had won the third pick in the lottery. You are then escorted into a freight elevator and unleashed upon the stage where you push your way to your interviewee of choice. You see the weirdest sights on the draft floor, such as Flip Saunders having an extremely candid and friendly talk with Ernie Grunfeld, Damian Lillard looking for every possible escape route, and the spawn of Dan Gilbert lapping up the attention. (Other members of the Gilbert brood looked visibly annoyed that their youngest sibling has become the human horseshoe and the only thing worth talking about on draft night.)

[image via Sean Fagan]

I’m not sure sure if of this means anything, other than the way in which I saw the future of the Washington Wizards swing in the most surreal way possible: stuck in a basement with other men sweating through their suits. I thought about the Truth About Viewing Party that was going on at the same time in D.C. and wished for a second that I was there drinking with my colleagues, rather than working through a scuffle only to have Ernie Grunfeld duck and dodge my questions.

Reading through the day-after assessments, it seems that many scribes are high on the prospect of drafting Otto Porter and keeping the young Georgetown product in D.C. for the next several years. However, I couldn’t help but think back to my discussion with Bradley Beal earlier in the night about Martell Webster and Beal’s opinion that the Wizards had to resign him, not only for his basketball prowess, but also for Webster’s leadership.

The takeaway from the draft is that this particular selection has put the Wizards in a situation that is going to make someone unhappy at the end of the day. If they draft Porter, they make the Georgetown faithful happy, but alienate those fans (and possibly players) who have come to love the contributions of Webster. Reach for another player, perhaps a must-needed, next generation big man, and you risk incurring the wrath of another Jan Vesely and getting the #SoWizards tag added to another acquisition in the legacy. Trade the pick and everyone over the age of 20 gets flashbacks to the ill-fated trade for Mike Miller and Randy Foye. The more I think about it, the more this particular draft position is a lose-lose for the Wizards, because someone at the end of the day is going to have the Randy Wittman Face, i.e., #WittmanFace.

Or maybe that’s just the basement dust talking.


Real Deal Beal?

[What the world wants to know: will Bradley Beal ever wear that neck-tie again?]

{videos via Sean Fagan}

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Sean Fagan
Reporter / Writer/Gadfly at TAI
Based in Brooklyn, NY, Sean has contributed to TAI since the the dawn of Jan Vesely and has been on the Wizards beat since 2008. His work has been featured on ESPN, Yahoo and He still believes that Mike Miller never got a fair shot.