Wizards might snag Porter with No. 3 overall pick
WASHINGTON (AP) — After scanning the globe for talent and hosting workouts for dozens of players from around the country, the Washington Wizards could end up using the third overall pick in the NBA draft on someone who played college ball in the nation’s capital.
Georgetown sophomore Otto Porter, Jr. won’t have to make any adjustment to the rims and floorboards at the home of the Wizards, because that’s also the court the Hoyas use for their home games. More importantly, the Wizards need a small forward with a flair for playing defense, and that’s as good a description as any for the 6-foot-8 Porter.
“They’ve got great young guys, I think I’ll be a good fit with them,” Porter said after performing recently for the Washington.
Naturally, the Wizards aren’t saying much about who they plan to take at No. 3 on Thursday night. For one thing, their pick could be influenced by who Cleveland and Orlando will select at 1 and 2, respectively.
“I don’t think this draft has a clear-cut No. 1 or a clear-cut ranking of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,” team President Ernie Grunfeld said.
But Washington has a pretty good idea of what it needs to become a playoff team, and Porter — and perhaps UNLV forward Anthony Bennett — appear to be viable options.
“We’re going to go with the best player available for our situation, for where we are and where we’re trying to head,” Grunfeld said. “What we want to do is add a player we feel can be part of this core, this nucleus that we’re building with. We feel good about our young backcourt of John (Wall) and Bradley (Beal) moving forward, and we’d like to add another piece here that can be with us for many years to come.”
Porter averaged 16.2 points and 6.8 rebounds a game for Georgetown last season. He scored 33 against Big East power Syracuse on 12-for-19 shooting in a 57-46 win in February.
If the Wizards are convinced he can rapidly make the transition to the pro game as a 20-year-old, then Porter just might be wearing red, white and blue as an NBA rookie.
“I think we’re going to get a player who can come in, as a Bradley Beal did last year, and play quality minutes and give this team a boost,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. “That’s what we’ve been trying to do this offseason, get better and more talented, and think we’re going to be able to do that with the third pick.”
The Wizards could trade the pick to get a veteran capable of leading the young team, although Grunfeld didn’t seem overly enthusiastic about the prospect.
“We’ve had some interesting conversations, and if something comes along we feel can help our team in the long term, as well as short term, it’s something we’ll look at,” he said. “But we also feel good about the player that may be available at 3.”
The Wizards also have two picks in the second round. Grunfeld says the Wizards don’t intend to add three rookies to the roster, but he wasn’t too optimistic about his chances of dealing his latter two choices for a chance to get another selection in the opening round.
“It’s possible, but it’s unlikely that a 38 and a 54 can move up to the first round,” he said.
Washington hasn’t had a winning record or reached the playoffs since 2007-08. Although the Wizards were 29-53 last season, they played well down the stretch, which provided Wittman and Grunfeld hope that a few more stars can make the difference.
“Our goal for next year is to make the playoffs,” Grunfeld said. “The way we handled ourselves in the second half of last year, once we got healthy and got all our players back and as our young players started developing, we had a very good record. We feel good about the progress that our team made toward the end of last year, and now we have to build on that progress.”
Wittman said: “As we said at the end of last year, we’ve got to continue to build around our core guys. We saw through injury last year that we didn’t have the depth we needed to overcome that.”