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Wizards fans are John Wall-dancing in D.C. today after winning the NBA Draft Lottery and the chance to draft Kentucky’s all-world freshman point guard.
Irene Pollin — the widow of Abe, who was the longest-tenured owner in the NBA at the time of his death at the age of 85 on Nov. 24, 2009 — brought her husband’s 1978 Washington Bullets championship ring as a lucky charm to Secaucus, N.J., before the jaw-dropping results were announced in the traditional slow envelope-opening ceremony by David Stern’s right-hand man, Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver.
“This is very, very special. I have been in this my entire adult life, and to be here, representing my husband, this is very special to me tonight,” said Irene Pollin, who appeared to be in disbelief in the moments before and after the news was announced.
“I think it’s the culmination of my husband’s dream because he wanted another ring and maybe this will get us another ring.”
Presumably, Wall will join Capitals center Alex Ovechkin and Nationals ace-in-waiting Stephen Strasburg as No. 1 picks lobbying to become the Commander in Chief of the D.C. sports scene. But longtime Wizards-Bullets fans just hope Wall has a better fate than the team’s last No. 1 overall pick, Kwame Brown, a 6’11” high school prospect selected by former Wizards executive and current Bobcats owner Michael Jordan.
In Wall’s only season at Kentucky, the 6’4”, 195-pound Raleigh, N.C., native averaged 16.6 points, 6.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game while shooting 46.1 percent from the field and 75.4 percent from the free throw line. John Calipari’s latest blue chip hopes to follow in the footsteps of former No. 1 overall pick Derrick Rose and reigning Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans.
“My goal is to be the No. 1 pick,” Wall told ESPN shortly after watching the network’s broadcast of the Lottery results with friends and family in Beverly Hills, Calif. “I’ll just keep working hard and see what team picks me June 24. … I’m just going to go in and try to make the organization better.”
And after the death of their longtime owner and a bizarre locker room gun incident by disgraced face of the franchise Gilbert Arenas, there is nothing the Wizards could use more than an exciting, athletic, playmaking point guard like Wall, who led UK to a 34–3 record and an Elite Eight berth this year.
Now that the ping pong balls have settled and the envelopes have been opened, the first-round draft order is set:
Ping Pong Results
Rest of Lottery
9. Jazz (via Suns, Knicks)
Remainder of First-Round
15. Bucks (via Bulls)
16. T-Wolves (via Nuggets, Bobcats)
17. Bulls (via Bucks)
22. Trail Blazers
23. T-Wolves (via 76ers, Jazz)
25. Grizzlies (via Nuggets)
26. Thunder (via Suns)
27. Nets (via Mavericks)
28. Grizzlies (via Lakers)
30. Wizards (via Cavaliers)
The 2010 NBA Draft will be held at Madison Square Garden on June 24 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.