Wizards could win by losing finale

Wizards could win by losing finale
April 17, 2013, 12:00 am
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In town for the 35th anniversary of Washington's only NBA championship team, former Bullets' stars Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld randomly ended up in a debate during halftime of the Wizards-Pacers game. The topic? If a non-contending team -- like the Wizards -- benefited from winning games late in the season even if their draft position suffered in the process.

Hayes said pass on winning, get the best pick. Unseld, the former general manager, said always side with victories. 

That night the Wizards defeated Indiana. 

They haven't won since.

Now Washington's potential draft position has improved.

Cue Hayes smiling somewhere in the world.

"It's a great thing to have that resurgence, to win some basketball games," Hayes said back on April 6. "But it's a good and it's a negative, because of the fact that you're not going anyplace. You're getting a few wins now, but you're not going anyplace. Plus, you're losing the draft choices. You're getting to an area where you're not going to get as good a player. So, is it good to win? Be happy about winning a few games, but what good is this going to do?"

While there are several reasons for the Wizards to seek victory lane in Wednesday's finale at Chicago Bulls besides the obvious, Hayes' point about falling on the draft order sword is arguably more compelling even if it's a losing one.

The Wizards have dropped five straight. Bummer, sure, but the silver lining is potentially having several more lottery balls.

With one game remaining, Washington (29-52) is tied with the Detroit Pistons for the seventh-worst record in the NBA, one game behind the Sacramento Kings (28-53), one game ahead of the Minnesota Timberwolves (30-51).

The Pistons, winners of four straight, play at Brooklyn on Wednesday, the final day of the regular season. The Nets team defeated the Wizards on Monday, but also rested several key players. The Timberwolves play at San Antonio Spurs while the Kings host the Los Angeles Clippers.

Lottery odds are based on the league's final standings. All ties will be broken via drawings by the NBA league office. Should the Wizards finish in the sixth slot, they would pick no worse than ninth and that is in the unlikely event three teams behind them jump them in the lottery.

The Wizards have lost seven straight road games and will play the Bulls without several key players, including Nene. Seeing as the Bulls need a win to lock up the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, the odds against Washington winning would appear low.

Cue Hayes smiling somewhere in the world.