How about the lottery, huh? Did anybody go streaking, Frank the Tank style? What a great night to be a Washington Wizards fan.
To routinely expect the worst – and not so laughingly believe that the team is cursed – and come out better than expected in the NBA Draft Lottery two years in a row (last year the Wizards entered the lottery in the four spot, and probably all expected them to land at six) is wonderful. The business at hand now is improving things to the point that the Wizards aren’t participants in the excruciatingly drawn out production that is the NBA Draft Lottery for a while.
What do the Wizards do with the third pick? I’ve gone on record as not wanting to trade the pick at eight, so I’m certainly not an advocate of trading it now. Again, the caveat is some kind of package for Kevin Love or something – unlikely, and no to Danny Granger (shame on you, Mike Wise. Are you here simply to troll us? There could be a post coming dedicated SPECIFICALLY to that column), Can we, at least for today, just focus on the players in the Draft? Great. Let’s do that.
Cleveland and Orlando are obviously roadblocks to the draft board, but I’m all aboard the Otto Porter Jr. bandwagon at third overall.
Obviously, I’m not alone in thinking Porter is a great choice for the Wizards. For me, Otto Porter provides a great balance between “best player available” and “fits a need”. Plug him in as a small forward, and even though there is Trevor Ariza for at least one more season, and presumably Martell Webster, Porter should be able to represent immediate help in the present and future. He fits the culture that the team has clearly fought to foster in the last two years: smart, focused on the game, committed to defense, and most importantly, buying into the program. You group him with John Wall and Bradley Beal, and you have a very bright, young nucleus.
I also hear the sentiment that he’s local, so the team shouldn’t feel pressured to pick him. Again, I don’t get it. Is there a feeling that local fans are biased because he’s in the nation’s capital? What if the local standout is the best player available? Porter was the Georgetown Hoyas last season. At times, he was seriously on “Pass it to Will” status. (I couldn’t find the clip of the coach saying this in the huddle, but you watched Fresh Prince. You know what I’m talking about). I know Georgetown wasn’t exactly an offensive juggernaut, but Otto Porter accounted for 24 percent of the team’s points, 22 percent of the rebounds, 18 percent of the assists, 24 percent of the team’s steals, and 23 percent of their blocked shots. I’m sure other teams’ best players in college have similar type of stat, but…wow.
I often read or hear that Otto Porter is good at a lot of stuff, but not great at anything. To me, that’s not a particularly strong criticism. He’s less than two weeks shy of age 20, who’s to say that he won’t become great at something or some things? And how many 20-year old players come into the draft with this much talk of maturity and high basketball IQ? I know that there’s the thought that UNLV’s Anthony Bennett could have the higher ceiling, but he also has a lower floor. Again, Porter may not become a star, he’s the “safe” pick, but who’s to say he can’t develop into a star? Particularly in the right system and with the right pieces around him. I think Chad Ford’s comment in his ESPN chat today best describes my opinion of the two:
Those are the two players they are high on. Both are fits. If they need more offense and potential star power Bennett is the guy. Porter gives them the high basketball IQ, the passing, the defense, all the little things. Personally, I think I like Porter a little bit more, but if I was Ernie Grunfeld, I’d be torn here.
To me, Otto Porter just feels like the right fit for what the Wizards are trying to build in D.C. Without question, there are several other strong options and possibilities to be available (some obviously more than others) when the Wizards are on the clock. If Porter is off the board, Nerlens Noel, Ben McLemore, Anthony Bennett, and Victor Oladipo are all good alternatives.
Each is intriguing in his own right, and I’m sure that we’ll read and hear much more about this between now and the draft. But for now, to me, Otto is the motto.