The Wizards front office under the leadership of Ernie Grunfeld and Tommy Sheppard have been busy constructing the team that in November will compete for their first division title in over three decades. Meanwhile, two potentially important pieces to that puzzle are currently turning heads in Las Vegas, and Wizards fans couldn’t be happier.
The last time I was this excited about a Wizards team at this time of year was the Summer of ’10 and the hype surrounding John Wall’s first NBA Summer League. The difference with this time around is that we are now to the point where we are talking about Wizards players playing in the Summer League who don’t need to come in and save the franchise. Instead, they are just developing into pieces of a championship contending team.
The bar for contributions next season is set pretty low for Otto Porter Jr., considering the level of play that is usually expected from a No. 3 draft pick. Those expectations are even more tame for his lower drafted Vegas duet partner Glen Rice, Jr.
What they’ve managed to do in Vegas thus far, thoug,h has to have everybody from Ernie to Randy to our favorite equipment guy Chase grinning from ear to ear. Combine their efforts now with the fact that Porter and Rice will only be pushed to get better and better by simply having Wall and Beal around in addition to the signing of Paul Pierce and you can understand why everyone in the DMV is so giddy with excitement about what’s happening.
We always used to joke around about Trevor Booker impeding a potential run at Kevin Durant because of his jersey number but how great of a problem would it be to have Porter making a move for KD a little less of a no-brainer by virtue of his play improving that much in the next two years.
I know, I know, let’s slow down and no folks, I’m not saying that Otto Porter should stop a run at KD but what a great problem to have it would be. Also, the signs thus far are positive and exactly what we all want to see as it relates to the way the offense is supposed to work and how to close out games.
We don’t have much more time left as it comes to basketball. As soon as Summer League is over the only thing between us and training camp is the FIBA Tournament and unless Bradley Beal gets significant minutes, I’m not too sure Wizards fans are going to care too much about what goes on there.
So our hopes and dreams of hoisting the Summer League’s Whatchamacallit Trophy and sending #WizardsTwitter into clear hysteria will be in the hands of our two second year players trying to make a name for themselves. They are playing a team that they destroyed and toyed with too much the last time they met, I can only assume that Sam Cassell will have a shorter bench this time around and we’ll see more time for Porter and Rice.
I like our odds for this evening with the No. 1 and No. 10 scorer this summer. Based on what we have seen thus far, so should you.