1. If the Wizards hold at no. 3 in the upcoming draft, is it Otto Porter or Anthony Bennett?
Joe: When it comes to the Wizards you have the safe pick and then you have the risk pick. Given the draft history and luck of this franchise the obvious choice is Otto Porter, but I’m in the minority and think it’s time to roll the dice again and go with Bennett. Yes, red flags are everywhere. Injury concerns, check. Potential really high ceiling or very low basement, check. Scouts that love him, scouts that fear him, check. I’ve seen every possible NBA comparison as well from Larry Johnson to Sean May, Paul Milsap to Zack Randolph, and Rodney Rodgers to Jason Maxiell.
So then why should the Wizards draft him? In my opinion, for various reasons.
First off, the franchise player is angling for a PF that can pick and pop. Bennett answers that bell and he does it well. He’s a big body that can shoot with range, keeping defenses honest. He’s a very good offensive rebounder, he’s long, very strong for his size and proved to be extremely efficient when he was around the basket which would be great for a team looking for someone to play with his back to the basket. Go ahead, name me the last real true post presence Washington had.
I like the idea of the Wizards pushing the ball up the court with Wall, Beal and Bennett being able to keep pace. I believe the concerns on defense a.k.a. his intensity can be fixed due to the players he will be playing with. We are after all talking about a team that used to get crapped on defensively and became a Top 10 defensive team in one offseason. You’re not going to tell me adding a talent like Bennett to that group is going to hurt the Wizards defensively, and offensively it will only help by virtue of John Wall being the leader on this team.
As I’ve said time and time again, when the roster around Wall improves so will his game and the overall record of the team and I believe the upside of Wall-Bennett is better than Wall-Porter. Yes, I like Porter, as a matter of fact I really like him but I love the Wall, Beal, Webster, Bennett, Nene more than I do Wall, Beal, Porter, INSERT PF, Nene rotation.
Porter has the potential to be a really good player in the league but in my humble opinion Anthony Bennett has the chance to be a star at PF and I fully believe that Wall as his PG can make that happen.
Trevor: For me, Otto Porter Jr. is the no-brainer choice here.
I see Cleveland going ahead and taking Nerlens Noel, and Orlando going with Ben McElmore, leaving Otto — the player I have wanted the Wizards to land since December — there for the taking. When it comes down to Porter or Bennett, the choice is between a player who has great size for his position, does everything well, is unselfish and is a great facilitator, and can contribute on both ends of the floor vs. a player who doesn’t play defense, is undersized for his position, and is coming off shoulder surgery.
I don’t understand why people think Otto doesn’t have a high ceiling either. Just because his “floor” is much higher than some of the other prospects, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have loads of potential become much more than a role player. He showed that he is still improving from his Freshman to Sophomore year, increasing his numbers across the board including his three point efficiency from 22.6% to 42.2%. Porter is the perfect complimentary piece to the John Wall and Bradley Beal back court as the 3rd or 4th scoring option in the offense, as he doesn’t need the ball in his hands to make a real impact.
As you can tell, I’m down with OPJ.
Abdullah: The coined motto for most teams is “need over talent” and in the case of the Wizards and these two prospects, it seems both need and talent would be addressed with either one of them being selected. Clearly, the fanbase is torn between Otto and Bennett. Porter is touted by many, including his former G’Town coach, as the best all around talent available in the draft, while Bennett offers a frame and skill set that isn’t matched by many others in his class. The possibility of not retaining Martell Webster (which to a certain degree relies on how the Wizards draft), along with the uncertain future of the front court (Okafor’s expiring contract; Nene’s health) will most likely create voids in the roster that will need to be addressed, so Ernie & Company’s work is cut out for them. I, like many other Wizards fans, can visualized success with either one of these guys on the roster. Porter’s stout defense and speed up and down the court would be a good fit alongside John Wall in Washington’s uptempo style. Bennett’s bulky frame, combined with his efficient perimeter shooting offers the Wizards a solid presence in the paint as well as that “four man who can pick and pop” John Wall suggested earlier this week.
2. Is trading the pick an option or has Ernie lost your confidence due to the Miller/Foye fiasco?
Joe: In light of my lengthy answer before, I will answer this one relatively quickly. Trading this pick is an absolute no-no. Unless Washington can pull some ridiculous rabbit out of the hat type trade like landing Kevin Love or another PF with All-Star credentials without giving up Wall/Beal then Ernie needs to make this pick count and he needs to make his decision between Porter or Bennett and yes for me this is a two man draft for Washington.
Trevor: In reference to the question, don’t you kind of have to pick your poison here? Do you have less faith in Ernie making the right choice in the draft, or less faith in him making a trade? It is kind of sad that there are several options, but you feel as if making the wrong choice is more likely to happen than making the right one.
If Otto is still on board, the Wizards need to do the right thing and just take him…don’t even consider trades. If Porter and Noel are off the board, I think the next best thing might be to go ahead and take Anthony Bennett. There is less room for error than if some trades go down. Although he is not as good a fit as Porter, Bennett can put the ball in the hoop and that is something the Wizards definitely need.
There are some interesting scenarios since Minnesota has made it known they would like to trade Derrick Williams and the 9th pick to move up in the draft. If the Wizards could get Williams, the 9th pick, AND package their seconds rounders to get the T-Wolves 26th overall pick, that could certainly be intriguing as they would be adding a wing player (Williams), and then can take a big man (possibly Zeller) at 9 or a scoring guard (McCollum). Would this be a scenario you would be interested in?
Abdullah: There’s no doubt that Ernie’s history of botched decisions has tarnished any confidence or trust Wizards fans have in him. The fact is, the Wizards are looking for a player who can make somewhat of an immediate impact rather than another project. The absence of a bona fide All-Star caliber prospect in this year’s draft class opens up the option to explore other measures to handle the pick. Regardless, the Wizards are still in position to draft one of three top players which simply figures to be a safer route to take.
3. The Wizards have indicated they more than likely won’t be bringing in three rookies this year, but if they do choose to keep a 2nd rounder, name a prospect or two you would like to see them take.
Joe: I’m going to throw four names out and would be happy with either of these guys ending up in Chinatown next year.
First, I’m a big Allen Crabbe fan and for obvious reasons. Crabbe is a deadly shooter as everyone knows and the Wizards could use someone off the bench who would keep defenses honset while B3al is taking a breather.
Second, I like Tim Hardaway Jr. and yes my Michigan Wolverine bias comes out a bit here. Not quite the shooter that Crabbe is but I like his ability to handle the rock, he’s a proven scorer, I like the fire he plays with and you can never discount being the son of a very good NBA player, the game is in his genes.
Third, I like Nate Wolters. This young man is steady, has great court vision, takes care of the ball and I just love his overall feel for the game. I think he would make a phenomenal backup to Wall and would be an upgrade over AJ Price or any other PG the Wizards have had to backup Wall in the past few years.
Lastly, I like Archie Goodwin and its for none other than one reason. Since John Wall was drafted I’ve had this infatuation with getting him help from the University of Kentucky. I believe there is something about playing with guys you have a college relationship with and its not like Goodwin isn’t a good ball player. Just last year he was being mentioned in lottery-mid first round discussions. I think Goodwin is raw but playing on a team led by Wall could bring the best out of his game.
Trevor: MIKE MUSCALA. I have been tweeting out (and pretty much yelling out loud) MUSCALAAAA for the past two weeks. It will be my battle cry for the next couple weeks until the draft comes and Ernie ultimately doesn’t take him, instead going three picks behind our selection and then I have to be bitter about it for the rest of my life.
Muscala is an efficient big man who put up 18.7 points per game last year for Bucknell to go along with 11.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 2.4 blocks. He is extremely fundamentally sound and can score inside and out and plays tough in the paint. He can step out and knock down a shot outside of the paint, even showing the ability to hit three pointers. On top of that, playing tough gets you to the free throw line, where Muscala shot 81.9% during his 4 year college career.
Abdullah: I like a stretch guy like James Southerland who may be available come time for the Wizards to pick their second rounder, but if the Wizards actually do go for Otto in the first, I think it’s imperative that they address their interior later on. Ryan Kelly intrigues me in this department, mindless of his despised Alma Mater. I like that he has size and can do more than one dimensional with the ball. He’s a good ball handler and passer and has better range than most players at his position. While he isn’t much of a banger down low and has a hard time boxing out, his positive attributes have seemed to outweigh the negatives amongst NBA scouts.