In a night of utter unpredictability, the Wizards got their man at last night’s 2013 NBA Draft, selecting Georgetown forward Otto Porter Jr. at No. 3 overall in a move that everyone seemed to know was coming.
Washington wasn’t done there, though, trading for shooting guard Glen Rice Jr., who lit up the D-League after getting kicked out of Georgia Tech. What’s unfortunate is that the Wizards did have to give up South Dakota State star Nate Wolters and Iranian forward Arsalan Kazemi in the process — the latter reportedly a rebounding machine as well as the first Iranian-born player to get drafted by the NBA.
(As close as it may have come, then, the country without an embassy still finds itself without any sort of presence in the District.)
The feedback for the Wizards’ draft has been overwhelmingly positive thus far, though, and with good reason: Porter, who played his home games at the Verizon Center at college, might not even have to move lockers as he transitions to the NBA. More importantly for owner Ted Leonsis, Porter’s almost guaranteed to put butts in the seats — a quick glance at my classmates’ Facebook and Twitter feeds last night is enough to vouch for that.
Porter probably won’t set the world on fire right away with his game, but he still has a lot of room for improvement given his limited basketball experience. (In a story that’s become somewhat famous by now, Porter didn’t actually play AAU basketball.) If he can take another leap forward akin to what he did between his freshman and sophomore seasons at Georgetown, he could be a force.
All told, I give Washington’s 2013 draft an A-. But don’t just let me do all the talking — here’s a rundown of the basketball scribes’ buzz on the Wizards’ big night:
USA Today: Adi Joseph | A
“The Wizards made the smart pick, then they made the smart trade. Porter is the perfect fit for this team, even though he lacks the upside of many of the available options. He will step in and start from Day One. And Rice will be the team’s top backup wing, if not this year then soon. They dealt the Nos. 38 and 54 picks for Rice, who arguably was the best player in the NBA Development League last year but slipped for off the court issues.”
Bleacher Report: Adam Fromal | A+
“Otto Porter is a terrific fit for the Washington Wizards thanks to his versatility and ability to spread the court for John Wall’s aggressive drives to the basket. His jumper may be unorthodox, but it’s consistent and allows him to find the bottom of the net from long range and mid-range alike.
The Georgetown product will also be a great defender at the professional level. Washington’s biggest hole was at the 3, and it’s now been filled. Perhaps the most complete prospect in this draft class, Porter isn’t a future superstar, but he’s a sure-fire starter in this league.”
CBS Sports: Matt Moore | A-
“He’s a leader. He’s going to be able to attack for them. This Wizards team is really headed in the right direction.”
SB Nation: Jonathan Tjarks, Tom Ziller and Mike Prada | A-
“Washington kept it simple with its pick, taking a local product who should walk right into its starting lineup. Porter is a college sophomore who plays like a 10-year NBA veteran. Along with John Wall and Bradley Beal, he gives the Wizards three top-3 picks on the perimeter.”
Sports Illustrated: Andy Glockner | No grade given, but it *sounds* like an A
“This was the obvious pick to make. Washington needs a small forward to go with its John Wall/Bradley Beal backcourt and Porter is a prototypical plug-and-play guy at the 3. He doesn’t have to be a primary scoring option right away but should make an impact right out of the gate. Having played his college career in the Verizon Center and having the local fans know him is the cherry on top.”
CSN Houston: Matt Catagnus | A
“Washington’s front office had to be ecstatic that Porter dropped to them at number 3. This is the perfect situation for both player and team. Porter immediately slides into the wing position and now forms a dangerous trio with John Wall and Bradley Beal. For the Wizards, keeping the local college hero in the D.C. area will give the fan base much to be excited about. Porter may not have as much upside as some of the other top prospects, but he will be a consistent contributor for his entire NBA career.”
NBA Draft Tiers: A guy named Trey | C+
“This is a solid, but not amazing, pick for the Wizards. I have to think that the Wizards were the team that spread the rumor that Anthony Bennett gained 20 pounds because they wanted him to be available, but when he wasn’t available, Porter was still there. Porter fills a need on the wing for the Wizards, and he should be an excellent compliment to Wall and Beal. If he was expected to be a star, he would probably fail, but Washington already has stars.”
Notes: The award for “Weirdest Draft Grades” goes to our friends* over at Breitbart Sports. (*We’ve never actually met.) Besides our other bud Trey below, I’d never seen the Porter pick graded out to anything below an A-, but Breitbart gave the it a B. For comparison, the selection of little-known German point guard Dennis Shroeder at No. 17 garnered an “AA.” Go figure.