What Wizards Should Do With Third Pick
The Washington Wizards finished the season strong, but their early-season injury woes ultimately led to them being in the lottery once again. They are picking third and HOOPSWORLD asked some of their writers to weigh in on what the Wizards should do with the third overall selection:
Draft Otto Porter
With franchise cornerstones John Wall and Bradley Beal locked in at point guard and shooting guard, respectively, the Wizards have one of the more promising young backcourts in the NBA. Now that Washington has jumped all the way up to #3 in the 2013 NBA draft, they can begin to fill in pieces along their frontline. Assuming Nerlens Noel is off the board, the best available forward (and arguably the best all-around player in the entire draft) Otto Porter Jr. would make all the sense in the world for Washington with the third overall selection.
Not only is Porter universally considered one of the top talents in the draft, he also fits a positional need for the Wizards. Martell Webster, who started over 60 games for the Wiz at small forward last season, is a free agent. Trevor Ariza, who began the 2012-13 campaign as a starter before settling in as a backup to Webster, has just one year left on his deal.
Otto Porter Jr. is an incredibly versatile and boasts an impressive skill set at both ends of the floor. He measures in at 6’8″ and possesses a monstrous 7’1.5″ wingspan. This length, in combination with surprising quickness, allows Porter to guard a variety of positions. Moreover, he is an aggressive rebounder and an energetic defender, always willing and able to guard the other team’s top player.
But Porter is by no means a one-way player. His offense exhibited great improvement over his two seasons in college. Not only did his scoring average jump up to 16.2 points per game as a sophomore last season, he was also far more efficient as a shooter. As a freshman, he shot just 26.6% from three point territory; but as a sophomore than number increased to 42.2%. In addition, his free-throw percentage climbed from 70.2% to 77.7%
And at just 19 year of age, Porter still growing into his body and his game remains chockfull of upside. In fact, Otto is younger than “freshman” Ben McLemore and Anthony Bennett.
Lastly, the intangibles Porter brings to the table are undoubtedly appealing to NBA general managers. Porter’s basketball IQ has drawn rave reviews from college basketball analysts and Otto’s coaches have raved about his work ethic and character. For Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld, who is desperately trying to revamp the image and culture of the franchise, this is a crucial consideration.
As an added bonus, Otto spent his collegiate career at Georgetown University and, as a result, would obviously feel quite comfortable playing his home games in D.C.
- Tommy Beer
Draft Alex Len
The truth about the current Washington Wizards’ frontcourt is that it’s not going to be the Washington Wizards’ frontcourt for too much longer. Assuming Emeka Okafor chooses not to exercise his Early Termination Option on the $14.5 million remaining on his contract (and he won’t), next season very well could be his last in D.C. Nene, meanwhile, has three more seasons left on his own deal, but there’s already a sense that he isn’t the long-term answer at center for this team, either.
Some of the younger big men on the roster have shown flashes of things over the course of the last couple of seasons, but nothing potent enough for us to think that Washington can’t live without them. In short, this lucky draw of a third overall pick is the Wizards’ opportunity to snag a big man they can build around.
That’s why there’s a very strong chance that Washington considers taking Maryland center Alex Len with their #3 overall selection, even if Anthony Bennett and Otto Porter are still on the board. Assuming Noel is gone, Len is the next best center in this draft, and at 7’1” he’s one of the biggest players in the entire pool. Defensively he gives off a distinctly Roy Hibbert vibe, and his burgeoning offensive skills have developed enough over the course of the last couple of seasons that scouts believe he could be an elite NBA big man before everything is all said and done.
There’s little question that he’ll be taken with one of the first five or six picks in the draft, but with his size and skill set, going in the top three seems like a real possibility. If Washington believes they need a franchise center more than help at small forward (which they may already have if they re-sign Martell Webster after his career year last season), then Len could be the pick. And it wouldn’t be a bad one.
- Joel Brigham
Draft Victor Oladipo
The best pick for the Washington Wizards may be Victor Oladipo out of Indiana, especially if the local favorite Otto Porter out of Georgetown is already off of the board.
Even though Oladipo is only 6’4.25, a lot of people in NBA circles believe he’ll be able to play small forward because of his 6’9.25 wingspan and incredible athleticism. He could be the Wizards’ three of the future and he would complement John Wall Bradley Beal nicely, giving Washington one of the best up-and-coming perimeter trios in the NBA.
Oladipo has a lot of fans around NBA front offices and there’s a possibility that he won’t even be on the board at No. 3, if the Cleveland Cavaliers or, more realistically, the Orlando Magic select him first. He did extremely well during interviews at the NBA draft combine in Chicago, which helped his draft stock significantly, especially when considered with his game film, measurements and potential.
One of the main reasons that so many executives have fallen in love with Oladipo is his incredible motor, which was on display on just about every play of his three-year collegiate career. He never seems to run out of energy, which allows him to be active on both ends of the floor throughout the entire game. Oladipo is a coach’s best friend because he never takes plays off and his motor tends to be contagious.
Oladipo is arguably the best perimeter defender in the draft, a skill that should translate seamlessly over to the NBA. Last season, he finished third in steals per 40 minutes among DraftExpress’ top-100 prospects. He’s relentless on the defensive end and uses his athleticism to lock down his opponent as well as play the passing lanes. The team that selects Oladipo should improve their defense very quickly.
Speaking of Oladipo’s athleticism, he’s widely regarded as one of the most explosive and athletic prospects in the class. He only furthered this notion during the combine, where his vertical leap measured in at 42 inches. He also performed well in the sprint drill (3.25 seconds) and lane agility drill (10.69 seconds).
Oladipo was arguably college basketball’s most improved player from last year to this year, averaging 13.6 points and increasing his shooting percentages significantly to 59.9 percent from the field and 44.1 percent from three-point range. He also averaged 6.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.2 steals and nearly one block. His field goal percentage was the seventh-highest in the country, which is incredible for a perimeter player. He also passes the advanced analytics test, with the highest effective field goal percentage among DraftExpress’ top-100 prospects and an impressive efficiency rating of 28.9.
At 21 years old, Oladipo still has plenty of upside and room to grow once he reaches the NBA. He can help Washington right away since they want to make the playoffs next season while also developing alongside their young core.
- Alex Kennedy
Draft Anthony Bennett
The Washington Wizards have been searching for a power forward in the draft for years now, investing recently in Trevor Booker, Kevin Seraphin, Jan Vesely while already having Emeka Okafor and Nene on the interior as well. Gong with another one would seem like giving up on at least two of those three recent draft picks, but Bennett is a special type of talent who would fit in so well with their current core that it’s hard not to strongly consider.
When you have two guards like John Wall and Brad Beal, being able to space the floor properly so they have room to attack is absolutely vital. Not only can Bennett keep defenses honest with his shooting, but he’s a strong and physical presence who should be able to make the transition to playing in the NBA fairly smoothly.
Bennett has the tools to excel when the Wizards are trying to push the tempo and get out in transition, but also when they slow things down. In fact, with his ability to score in the low post, he’s someone they could look to run things through in the halfcourt.
There will be a lot of talk about how the Wizards should not go with yet another power forward, but there is a couple of things to keep in mind. First, the Wizards would probably have little trouble shipping off Vesely, Seraphin or Booker. They’re all still on their rookie contracts and easily tradable. Second, they can’t let the fact that they have a little bit of a logjam at the power forward spot keep them from taking the best talent available. Bennett is a unique player and one of the safest bets in this draft class. On paper, he jumps out as a really intriguing fit with what they already have in place, so if he’s still on the board at three they have to give him strong consideration and worry about fixing the logjam later.
- Yannis Koutroupis