Did the Wizards draft make for the right pick? Would you have felt less content with Nerlens Noel?
Jamal: I absolutely think the Wizards made the right pick. In a draft with a lot of question marks surrounding the talent pool, Otto Porter always presented himself as the most NBA-ready. Porter played in a relatively complex system at Georgetown where merit was always given to team player rather than individual achievements. However, he routinely emerged as the team’s best option, despite the opposition game-planning against him.
Porter also had the benefit of facing very tough competition within The Big East, which can only better prepare him for the NBA. He was on scouts’ radars all season, but his huge February 23, 2013 game against a hostile Syracuse team officially locked him into a top 5 draft position.
While Noel would have definitely fit a need with Washington’s aging front court, he, too, presented risks, considering his injury history with a play style that depends primarily on explosiveness. His lack of offensive game, too, would have only prolonged his timeline to contribute and become part of the team’s rotation.
Charles: I think the Wizards made the right pick to get to the playoffs next year. Usually I’m a believer in taking the best player available and while I was enticed when Noel slid, the Porter pick was a perfect fit. He was the most complete player in the draft and also the most NBA-ready. Porter will probably start from day one and allow Martell Webster to transition into a sixth man role. While Nerlens Noel has a huge upside, is still very raw, and will be out of action until at least November. For a team shooting for the playoffs, the Wiz don’t have time to slowly develop raw players (just ask Jan Vesely). Something about Noel scared teams off and I don’t think it was his injury. Not only did he go sixth overall, he was the fourth big man taken.
Cory: The Wizards 100% absolutely made the right pick. I’ve been saying for months that Otto Porter should be Washington’s pick if he was there for the taking. He was there and we took him! The first pick of Anthony Bennett to the Cavs really threw everyone and their brothers a curve ball, but luckily the Wizards brass stayed true to what they wanted and didn’t make a rash decision. Yes the thought of Nerlens Noel being an all-world defender in the future is one hell of a nice thought, but that’s no sure thing. And when is he even going to lace up his Nikes and style his high top fade in an NBA uniform?
With the general thinking that the Wizards are going to be making a playoff push this year, Porter helps us with that more than anybody that was available at pick three. Also, it gives the Wiz Kids one hell of a nice 1-2-3 punch of John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Porter. I couldn’t be more excited. And yes, after Stern finally stopped soliciting more boos and called Washington’s pick, my excitement would have been cut in half if Noel was called instead.
In what ways can Otto Porter benefit from the veteran presence of Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster, considering they remain on the roster?
Jamal: From Ariza, I think Otto can continue to learn defensive skills, specifically positioning and using his physique. Ariza and Porter have similar builds and Porter can become adept at allowing his length to compensate for his lack of lateral quickness, when necessary. Also, as evidenced by this year’s playoffs, it is very important to have a wing defender who can play passing lanes and disrupt isolation plays.
From Webster, Porter can learn how best to shoot coming off screens and continue to refine his ability to move without the ball. Porter moved very well without the ball at Georgetown and he’ll need to continue relying on this ability for the Wizards to improve their half-court offense.
Webster can also help Porter with his shooting motion. While it did improve from his freshman to sophomore seasons, Porter will need to quicken his release in order to beat bigger and faster defenders at the NBA level.
Charles: While Ariza has been in the league for awhile now and brought some championship experience along with him, he didn’t really impress me last season so hopefully Ernie is able to move his expiring contract. This will free up time for Martell and Otto who look to be the SF combo for the future.There is a lot Otto can learn from a guy like Martell. Martell’s biggest impact was felt in the locker-room. His signing was a welcomed addition to a team filled with young players. Having come into the NBA straight from high school he is aware of the pitfalls that can befall younger players in this league and is the vocal leader of the team. He is the consummate professional and it has rubbed off on the younger players which is why it’s an absolute necessity to resign him.
Cory: I’m hoping that Ariza gets moved to fill in some roster holes, but if Webster and Ariza both are on the squad this upcoming season, Otto should benefit on both sides of the ball. Ariza knows how to play defense at a championship level and can parlay that knowledge to Washington’s most current first round draft selection. Webster knows how to get shots within the flow of the offense and that can be an invaluable know-how playing alongside Wall and Beal. Also, assuming Otto is put into the starting rotation, it’s nice having quality veterans behind him on the bench pushing him for his starting spot.
I’ll be honest here though. If Glen Rice, Jr. is the type of scorer that people say he is, I wouldn’t mind shipping out Ariza and not re-signing Martell. That $5 million that the Wiz would be using on Martell can be used to sign a quality backup big or a veteran backup point guard to the likes of Jarrett Jack. Yes, Otto would benefit from playing with Webster and Ariza, but filling other roster holes should be priority number one!
Wall. Beal. Porter. How does much that excite you?
Jamal: It’s great to see the phrase “build around Wall” actually take on meaning. This summer, the Wizards have an opportunity to give Wall a contract extension and the team’s composition is a critical part of his decision.
With Beal and Porter in place, the Wizards have a back court trip that can play and grow together for the foreseeable future. I think Wall is excited, too, to have two players that can not only run in transition, but also stretch the floor in half court scenarios.
I think the playoffs are now much more of a reality.
Charles: When the season ended and the Wizards were looking at a low lottery pick I was already excited about next season. Then Lady Luck smiled on us (FINALLY) and the Wizards end up with the most complete player in the draft. This a core that includes a #1 pick and two #3 picks. John Wall looks as if he has taken the next steps toward super stardom and Bradley Beal also looks as good as advertised. Now you’re adding a guy who has the potential to be Scottie Pippen. Emeka Okafor and Ariza’s contracts come off of the books after this season and the possibilities are endless. How can you not be excited about the future of this team??
Cory: It’s “very exciting” is probably an understatement. I’m ecstatic!! I’ve wanted this as our trio to build around for months and it finally happened. Usually us Wizards fans go into Draft day only to be disappointed and pissed off for weeks. This year was different. The Wizards didn’t waste any selections on “draft and stash” Euros, the ones that usually never surface again. Washington didn’t draft someone on athletic ability alone. They drafted someone who was in the top two on their draft board, they filled a need, and now have a core of Wall, Beal, and Porter. All are top three draft selections with a desire to win, hard work ethics, and some very legit game. And if you are a fan of the Washington Wizards this should make you very very happy!
The future in the nation’s capital sure looks bright. There is still some work to be done to become a serious contender in the East, but headed into the 2013-14 season, I couldn’t be more excited!