Is Otto Porter the best pick for the Wizards?
On June 27, the Wizards will take part in the 2013 NBA draft. Currently the owner of picks 3, 38 and 54, the franchise could go in almost any direction with those selections - including trading them - as Washington attempts a sincere playoff push.
Washington's primary needs, some of which can be addressed during free agency, include adding overall scoring punch, finding a power forward with perimeter touch, a long-term answer at small forward, plus backups for John Wall and Bradley Beal. Between now and the draft, we’re going to identify some of the players the Wizards might target whether the team stays pat or moves around in the first round with analysis from coaches, scouts, beat writers and national analysts.
Up next, Georgetown forward Otto Porter Jr., who will work out for the Wizards on Friday. Check below for a running of list of all our draft profiles.
Otto Porter Jr., Georgetown
Draft Express overall ranking: No. 7
Height/Weight: 6-8.5, 198 lbs
Key stats: 16.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists in 2012-13
The player: Strike up a conversation about Porter's abilities and the term versatility comes up easily. Not as a stock answer, but rather with true admiration, though it was still stunning to hear Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, who worked the sidelines throughout the entire history of the original Big East, call Porter the "best all-around player I've seen in this league." He certainly was this past campaign as the Big East coaches unanimously voted him Player of the Year after the sophomore led the conference co-champion Hoyas in scoring, rebounds, steals (1.8) plus free throw (77.7) and 3-point shooting (42.2). His true highlight performance moment came on the road against Boeheim's Orange when he dropped 33 points in a road win at the Carrier Dome, one of the many games he starred following the loss of second-leading scorer and reboudner Greg Whittington due to academic eligibility. Of course, to talk only about offensive statistics is to overlook the defensive ingenuity and intuitive excellence that truly defines Porter's game along with the subtleties long since banned by highlight packages. It's not often a player can control a game in non-scoring ways outside of being a shot blocker or primary ball distributor. With a knack for determining what a given moment, play or game required plus the ego-less manner in which he followed instructions from Georgetown coach John Thompson III, Porter did exactly that for the Hoyas.
The fit: At a basic level, the Wizards are currently without a long-term answer at small forward and would be even if they re-sign Martell Webster. Defensively, Porter and his 7-1 wingspan can impressively guard wing positions along with opposing point guards and power forwards in certain spots. Offensively, his selfless habits mean Wall, Beal or Nene will not lose any scoring opportunities in coach Randy Wittman's pass-first schemes. If anything, those chances should be enhanced with the presence of the poised prospect. Porter moves extremely well without the ball, often played point-forward at Georgetown where he also flashed enough of a handle to serve as the team's press breaker with the dribble. Not a pure shooter or a catch-and-shoot type, Porter improved his long-range accuracy dramatically after making only 23 percent of his 3-point attempts as a freshman.
The issue: It's all about the upside, or the perception that Porter lacks All-Star potential compared to others in the draft including UNLV forward Anthony Bennett. Because he lacks impressive NBA-level athleticism, the only club not in Porter's prospect bag is the "wow" factor. Playing in Georgetown's motion offense, Porter rarely displayed the ability to create his own shot off the dribble. The wiry forward needs to gain strength and bulk, but that should come in time when his body fills out; Porter only turned 20 on June 3. Purely from a Wizards standpoint, hard to see how the team drafts Porter and re-signs Webster based on the current roster.
The analysis (as told to CSNwashington)
NBA scout: "I think Otto Porter is going to be a very good NBA player. I think he's the safest pick in the draft. I think coaches will love him. I compare him to Tayshawn Prince due to similarities as far as body style playing defense at that position and he's perfect guy as the fifth guy on a team. He can fill a role and be a very good player on a good team. ...He can impact the game without having plays run for him or he can create shots for himself whether he's cutting for the ball, flashing to open shots, getting a steal or a putback. ... He's a decent athlete, but he's not explosive or particularly quick. His game speaks for itself. He didn't test off the charts individually. He's just a basketball player, a high IQ player and should right into almost any system."
Jeff Jones, former American University and new Old Dominion coach (after AU lost to the Hoyas this season, Jones said, "Porter might be the best cutter without the ball in the country."): "I love Otto Porter's game. ... As well as he scored this year, I don't think of him as a scorer. I look at him as a versatile player that can do many different things. He can guard the two, three or four. At the small forward position, he gives you another ball handler. He's a tremendous passer. ...You don't draft him to be the star player, but you draft him and you've got that can make a difference on your team I think right away."
Nicole Auerbach, USA Today: "He's a quiet kid, a good kid. I think people like his work ethic, how he just goes about his business. He obviously scored a lot for Georgetown this year, but he'd also get 15 rebounds in a game or just do so many different things. His dad described it best: Other guys are reacting to the play, moving around in response to the ball. Otto is a step ahead, moving where the ball is going to go."
The summation: There is little doubt that for the immediate future and in draft class with so much uncertainty (and players recovering from injury) , Otto Porter Jr. is the best fit for a Wizards team ready for and legitimately capable of a sincere playoff push (check out the East after the top 4-5 teams). If Porter is available at three and the choice is the non-nonsense Wittman's, expect Washington to draft a Missourian at No.3 for the second straight year. Yet the final decision will be made by team president Ernie Grunfeld, whose job requires long-term planning and not just about the upcoming campaign. Considering the growth made by the soft-spoken and skilled forward over one season, it's conceivable Porter is the call under that premise as well.
NBA Draft profiles
Lorenzo Brown, PG, NC State
Alex Len, C, Maryland
Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV
Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA, SF/SG