Friday, June 28, 2013

Wizards Select Otto Porter, Jr. Third Overall in the Draft

“I think he’s going to fit right in,” coach Randy Wittman said. “We’ve talked about what we wanted to establish here last year from a defensive standpoint; he fits that category. He’s a guy that’s versatile. I think he’s going to be able to guard multiple positions. He gives us really good size. He’s just a guy you can put in there and he’s going to make different players better. That’s a huge asset for us.”
Washington Post:
The Washington Wizards selected Otto Porter with the 3rd pick in the NBA draft on Thursday.

Porter became the first lottery selection from the school since Greg Monroe in 2010. The kid known as “Bubba” in his home town of Morley, Missouri, held back tears as he hugged his parents, Otto and Elnora, and little brother, Jeffrey, then embraced his agent, David Falk, and Georgetown Coach John Thompson III.

Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld is optimistic about the perimeter trio that John Wall, Bradley Beal and Porter could eventually become. They have a chance to potentially be a slightly better version of Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince, a group that helped the Detroit Pistons win the 2004 NBA championship. Wall would be in the roles of scorer/playmaker, with Beal serving as sharp-shooter and Porter providing time as a defensive-minded wing who can occasionally run the team as a point forward.

“I think we have three positions filled with very young players in their original rookie contracts,” Grunfeld said. “I mean Otto is 20 years old. Bradley’s going to be 20 tomorrow as a matter of fact, and John is 22, so we have three very solid players we can build with moving forward.”

Porter, a do-it-all forward with long arms and high basketball intelligence, boldly stated that he expects the Wizards – who have won just 72 games in the three years since Ted Leonsis bought the team – to be in the playoffs next season.

Porter went from role player as a freshman at Georgetown to Big East Player of the Year as a sophomore. He averaged 16.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per game and generally came up big for the Hoyas when it mattered – as in his career-high 33 points in a huge February win at Syracuse.

Porter also was second on the team in blocked shots and third in assists; his all-around game should make him a versatile piece at the next level. He probably will need to bulk up a bit, but he’s so polished he should get regular playing time quickly.

And he is already quite familiar with the Wizards, having watched the team play over the past two seasons. He also has a relationship with Beal dating from when they were in high school and Beal, a native of St. Louis, unsuccessfully tried to recruit Porter to his AAU team.

“We’re going to do damage next year,” Porter said. “I already know what they bring to the table. All I do is plug myself in there, and it’s going to be fun.”

In the second round, the Wizards shipped picks Nos. 38 (Nate Wolters of South Dakota State) and 54 (Arsalan Kazemi of Oregon) to the Philadelphia 76ers for Glen Rice Jr., the 35th pick and the son of the three-time all-star sharpshooter. Rice, an athletic 6-6 swingman, played last season in the Development League after getting dismissed from Georgia Tech in March 2012 after a string of off-the-court incidents. He led the Rio Grande Valley Vipers to the D-League title while averaging 25 points per game in the playoffs.

Washington Times:
The Cleveland Cavaliers took UNLV forward Anthony Bennett first overall and the Orlando Magic selected Indiana guard and former DeMatha standout Victor Oladipo with the No. 2 pick.

Bennett had also been under consideration by the Wizards, but the Cavaliers made the surprising choice after being linked with either Len or Kentucky center Nerlens Noel. The 7-foot-1 Len was unable to workout for teams as he recovers from a stress fracture in his left ankle that will keep him confined to a walking boot for the next three weeks. Noel won’t be available until at least December as he recovers from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

So Cleveland, once again eschewing conventional wisdom, elected to go with a player recovering from a torn rotator cuff in his left arm. Bennett is the highest drafted player from Canada, beating out his new teammate Tristan Thompson, who previously held the title after the Cavaliers surprisingly chose him fourth in 2011.

Oladipo, a native of Upper Marlboro and DeMatha Catholic High School alumnus, entered his junior season at Indiana projected to go late in the first round, but made an incredible rise that rivals his 42-inch vertical leap. He averaged 13.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game as a junior in 2012-13. He also recorded 2.2 steals per game.

Cody Zeller went fourth to the Charlotte Bobcats before Alex Len became Maryland’s highest draft pick since Steve Francis went second overall in 1999. “Two years ago, I had no idea I was going to be here at this point,” Len said. “But I work hard. I’m really excited to go to Phoenix. It’s a great city, great team.”

Len, who turned 20 last week, might not make an immediate impact in the NBA, but at 7-feet-1 and 255 pounds, pro teams like his potential. And make no mistake, the Ukraine native likely isn’t as close to a finished product as many of his lottery-pick peers.

In 60 games the last two seasons for the Terrapins, he scored in double figures 32 times and collected at least 10 rebounds in a game just nine times. Though he made the ACC’s All-Defensive team, he was not among the group of 16 players named first-, second- or third-team all-conference by the coaches.

Later in the second round, Virginia Tech guard Erick Green went 46th overall to the Utah Jazz, and was subsequently traded to the Denver Nuggets. The 6'3" shooting guard led the NCAA in scoring at 25.0 points per game and racked up a fireplace mantle full of awards: third-team All-America (Associated Press), ACC Player of the Year, first-team All-ACC, Virginia Player of the Year. Green had his sights set on being the first Virginia Tech player selected in the first round of the NBA draft since Dell Curry in 1986.

Unlike former Hokies standout Malcolm Delaney, Green’s spectacular senior season also earned him an invite to the NBA pre-draft scouting combine in Chicago last month. In 2011, after going undrafted, Delaney signed with the French team Élan Chalon in an agreement worth $130,000. The team plays in France’s top professional league, Ligue Nationale de Basketball. In 2012, Delaney agreed to a deal to play for BC Budivelnyk in Kiev, Ukraine. The club plays in the Ukrainian Basketball SuperLeague. He was named to the All-Eurocup First Team in 2013.

More information:
» Erick Green's Pre-Draft Workout in Denver
» Martell Webster Signed to 4-Year, $22 Million Deal
» Gilbert Arenas, 31, arrested by LAPD for possession of illegal fireworks, posted $100 bail

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