As we all know, this year’s draft class lacks a bit of stardom. Of the 13 players projected to go in the lottery round, only three, mayyybe four players have been touted as NBA-ready, meaning they have the overall talent that could make an immediate impact for whichever team lands them. In the IT world we call it ‘plug-and-play’. But even with those handful of players, none of them are defined as a runaway top pick. Earlier in the offseason, Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel had been the consensus top pick for most analysts and experts. Today, you’re hearing more about Maryland’s Alex Len. Not only is Cleveland reported to be leaning towards Len, but even Thunder GM Sam Presti reportedly made a curious phone call or two to some teams in pursuit of the 20 year old Ukrainian.
The Cavs have also been whispered in a few trade rumors, with the most recent one involving the Blazers. Isn’t this great? Not only are we wondering who the prized number one pick will be, but also which team’s snapback he’ll be fitting on his head once selected. Cleveland has had a knack for pre-draft bluffing in the past and this year is no different. As for the players themselves, they’ve got nothing on where they might end up. No gut feelings, no ideas, nothing. They simply feel blessed to be where they are.
The uncertainty of the first two picks has left us all in the dark, and that’s somewhere we don’t want to be considering the wide favorite amongst us Wizards media and fans has been GTown’s Otto Porter. Sure, we try to convince ourselves that plan B and C will keep us content no matter what, but I know we’ve got our fingers crossed in hopes of Otto to continue balling on the Verizon Center hardwood as a professional.
Earlier this afternoon at the Westin hotel in Times Square, the lottery prospects shuffled into the Majestic Ballroom and sat at their assigned tables to address the media. I managed to catch up with a few of them, including Porter and the player widely considered to be the Plan B, Anthony Bennett. Both players were asked what value they hold as top picks, and both players confidently answered, detailing their strengths. Bennett defined himself as a rebounder and inside scorer with some range. Porter was asked if he feels he deserves to be picked first overall, and he answered “most definitely,” mentioning his value as a versatile defender and his ability to stretch the floor on offense..
But while Bennett, Victor Oladipo and Alex Len are all impressive, Otto Porter is the final choice for me. Besides his tremendous upside on the court, Otto has a passion for the game and a competitive nature that will surely speed up his development as an NBA player.
This will be one fun Thursday, nonetheless, and we’ve got just a few more hours to fantasize before it goes down to the wire.
Otto Porter and Anthony Bennett pre-draft interviews: