Y'all ready for a roundtable? Well, ready or not, here it is! And feel free to join along with your own answers in the comments!
1. Which player in this draft is best suited to play on the Wizards? Why?
Bullet Nation in Exile: When? Short-term, Victor Oladipo. Noel, Len and Bennett are dealing with injuries of varying severity. Otto Porter would be playing behind (hopefully) Martell Webster and Trevor Ariza this season, at least until the All-Star break. Short-term impact therefore belongs to Oladipo who might find himself first guard off the bench right away. Long term, I'm a Noel/Porter guy. Having an elite athlete with IQ quarterbacking the defense? Who DOESN'T that fit with? Stretch 4 required, but that's not nearly as hard to find.
Thomas Pruitt: In terms of fit, Bennett, while in terms of culture, Porter. I don't like the idea of putting Porter next to Beal and Wall due to his lack of lateral quickness. He might be able to learn positioning in the same way that Ariza has, but I still just can't see him switching onto shooting guards and Beal doesn't seem like he'll ever be capable of guarding big wings. At the same time, Bennett would mesh perfectly with the existing roster and, assuming we retain Ariza and he ages reasonably well (I think he will), I'd be pretty happy with the roster. That said, I worry about Bennett's defensive acumen and don't want to risk disrupting what's been a very strong team-wide commitment to defense. I could go either way here.
Mike Prada: Next season? Victor Oladipo. The top of the lottery is full of players who have higher upside, with the exception of Oladipo and Trey Burke. Burke won't play a lot on a team with John Wall, whereas Oladipo could at least function in smaller lineups. Oladipo is more polished than most of these prospects.
Long-term? Otto Porter is the perfect fit for a Wizards team that wants to win with defense, length and a structured, motion offense when it can't get out in the open floor. Porter's versatility allows the Wizards to open up new pages in their playbook, which should improve the team's lagging attack this season.
Satchel Price: The unfortunate part of the Wizards landing the No. 3 pick this year is it's not a top-heavy draft; if you're one of the top six of seven teams selecting, you're getting a somewhat similarly-rated prospect regardless of order. With that said, I think you're really focused on the Noel/Porter/Oladipo/Bennett foursome if you're the Wizards, with the Georgetown product being the strongest fit. While a lot of people seem to be souring on Porter's lack of upside, I think he can develop into a really strong all-around SF who shoots, passes, defends and rebounds well. Unless you believe there's some definitively better prospect on the board, which I don't, Porter seems the most reasonable route as the strongest fit.
Umair Khan: Otto Porter. I refuse to make the same mistake this franchise has made by passing on the likes of Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler. The wing position has become increasingly significant with the institution of small ball, the preponderance on spot up threes, and the importance of help defense. No one matches those credentials as well as Porter.
2. Which player do you believe will be the best available at the third pick? Does he coincide with the best fit for the Wizards?
BNIE: Otto Porter fits with John Wall and Bradley Beal like pickles in a peanut butter sandwich. I believe he'll be there, and absent Noel, best fit. Where's Len? Microfracture surgery for a bruiser on a team that is designed to run? On one hand, the Wizards took their time bringing back John Wall. On the other, how Bradley Beal ended the season.
Thomas: Probably McLemore or Oladipo, due more to the lack of quality shooting guards in the NBA right now than their talent. There are about 15 shooting guards with PERs over the league average, and all of the top ones other than Harden are over 30. Power forwards and point guards tend to come a dime a dozen, so I'd actually be comfortable with the team taking a 2 and then attempting to flip him for someone like Danilo Gallinari who might be a better long-term fit.
Mike: Otto Porter, and yes. I laid this all out here.
Satchel: From most indications, it seems like Noel won't even be an option for Washington, so I think the Wizards are probably looking at guys from the Porter/Oladipo/Bennett group. Among those, Porter is pretty clearly the best fit as a small forward who can occasionally slide to the 4 when Washington goes small. While Oladipo may be the best prospect of the three -- I love his athleticism, defense and motor -- there are enough reasons to avoid him, from his reported disinterest in playing for Washington to his inability to score off the dribble. If you're talking about three guys all rated as solid B-grade prospects, you ultimately take the one who fits best with your current guys. That's Porter.
Umair: The consensus here is that Nerlens Noel will be gone by the second pick. With that in mind, I have Otto Porter as the second rated prospect on my big board. I've flip-flopped on this the past few weeks, but I think Porter being the best pick for the Wizards and being the best fit over Nerlens is a lot closer than you think. He may not allure you with his scoring, but he's proven to take over games in college. He may not be a lockdown defender a la Kawhi Leonard, but he'll be a very good foundational piece for this defense moving forward. He brings too much to the table for one to pass on.
3. Are you a "Best Fit" or a "Best Player Available" kind of person?
BNIE: I'm a "Best Player Available" type. I'm a fan of the tiered system we use every year and I weight the scales for talent. Bottom line, talent wins in the NBA and reaching for fit can be disastrous. Of course, screwing up talent evaluation results in things like drafting Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn with consecutive picks. Things can go wrong no matter how you approach the draft, but when a player's on another level, I believe your hand is forced.
Thomas: Best player available, but with an asterisk. Wall and Beal are both long-term pieces and I want the team to build around them. Normally you'd just take the best player available and fill out the rest of the roster with the appropriate role players, but due to how committed the team is to its current backcourt, it's important to keep their strengths and weaknesses in mind when looking at future picks.
Mike: Best fit, especially in a draft like this without a clear No. 1 pick. You can't separate a pick from the development process that must take place once he's selected. Development has a lot to do with team dynamics, both on the court and behind the scenes. Raw talent often perseveres, but the difference between an elite prospect and an average one is much slimmer than one would think.
Satchel: Fit is incredibly important for some players, not as important for others. I really think that's part of why background information has become so important to teams -- knowing how much nurturing a player needs and whether your organization can adequately provide it. The easy examples are guys like Lance Stephenson and Paul George in Indiana who clearly needed the right environment to become great players. However, seeing guys like Wall, Stephen Curry, Kevin Love, etc. rise from struggling organizations to reach star-level performance, it's clear there are certain players who have the ambition and talent to succeed regardless of their surroundings. All things considered, you want to take the best players, but you also need to be confident you can put them in the right positions to thrive.
Umair: It's pretty clear where I stand. You take the best talent available, and worry about filling needs through free agency. More than anything else, this team needs another young guy that will be here for the long haul. The front office went 0/3 in the 2011 draft, setting us back a full year, so they have to absolutely hit on their top 3 pick.
4. Forget about who's in this draft: what type of player does this roster need to take itself to the next level, and who is an example of such a player?
BNIE: Seeing as how the next level this coming season is 'playoff team', the Wiz just need to be healthy and re-sign Martell Webster. But like John Wall said, a stretch 4 wouldn't go amiss. And I like Patrick Patterson...
Thomas: A young center who could be one of the top defensive players in the NBA. So, basically Derrick Favors or Roy Hibbert, and I doubt either are coming. My big concern when I look at this team is the age and health of Okafor and Nene. Okafor should age reasonably well, but I still think the team can do better as far as getting someone who can shut down the paint. After that, a two-way wing who can competently defend either twos or fours in addition to small forwards, can create a shot, and space the floor would be awesome.
Mike: They could really use an elite rim protector and/or versatile big man that would be a cheap hybrid of Nene and Emeka Okafor. One really good two-way big, a la Marc Gasol, Joakim Noah, etc, rather than two that do half the job. A healthy Nene would be great, but I don't know if that player exists. Failing that, finding another offensive facilitator would be nice.
Satchel: If you consider "the next level" to be the postseason, then the Wizards don't really need something that spectacular -- a solid big man capable of commanding attention from opposing defenses could be enough to make Washington a 40-45 win team. However, it's pretty obvious that only a legitimate All-Star could bring Washington title contender status. Thing is, how do you find that guy when the draft stands as the most obvious route? As we've seen with some of the Kevin Love/LaMarcus Aldridge trade rumors this offseason, teams know how much leverage a star player gives them -- unless a guy has major issues with his employer, great players just won't be changing teams as often under the new CBA. So you can name the names that would ultimately make Washington great, but I feel like the team's best chance is to see a young player like Beal or the top pick develop into a legitimate star.
Umair: The Wizards are playoff bound if they're healthy. I think a full bill of health for Nene after an offseason of rest would go a long way toward stabilizing this team among the top 8 in the East. But we also have to stay weary of Emeka Okafor. Was 2012 just a fluke year, or will his age begin to creep up to him next season? Sure this team could use a dynamic third guard like Devin Harris or Jarrett Jack, depth is a major concern considering the lack of distributing talent outside of Wall, but more than anything else, the training staff has to stay on top of every player and make sure they're doing what's necessary to endure 82 games + playoffs.
5. What do you think a fair trade package would be to get a player like the one you mentioned above?
BNIE: Well, Sacramento has the 7th pick and enough power forwards to go around...so far, swapping picks and [Trevor Booker/Chris Singleton] for P-Pat is my favorite. Unless we can haz LaMarcus Aldridge. Then always haz LaMarcus Aldridge.
Thomas: For Favors, probably the third pick, a future first and an expiring deal in exchange for a bad one. For the kind of small forward I'd like to see us get, maybe the third pick and Ariza.
Mike: It would take No. 3, one or both of the Ariza/Okafor expiring duo and the 2014 pick, not protected significantly. The picks in this year's draft just aren't worth much on the open market.
Satchel: Considering the Timberwolves reportedly turned down an offer of Dion Waiters, Tristian Thompson and the No. 1 overall pick for Love recently, I honestly have no idea how the Wizards could acquire a star through trade. After the James Harden debacle last offseason, it's seems like teams recognize now that star power is the ultimate NBA currency. While the Wizards certainly have some nice pieces to work with, I feel like Washington would need to offer Okafor, Beal and the No. 3 pick (maybe even more) to get someone like Love. Is that worth it? I'm not so sure.
Umair: Personally I wouldn't venture the trade market too hastily given the lack of assets. I'd look to trade Trevor Ariza during the trade deadline as Porter begins to acclimate himself to the league, but not a moment sooner. Porter isn't ready to take on the rigors of defending elite wings one-on-one from the get-go, but if this team is in the playoff hunt, I'd look to package Ariza's expiring with a young asset or protected draft pick to get us over the hump.
6. With whatever happens tonight, how confidant are you that the Wizards will make the playoffs this year?
BNIE: Well, we've seen the team has the talent, but will they be healthy enough? No, I'm not super confident. I think it's a reasonable expectation for the first time in the John Wall era, but there are too many question marks around perimeter scoring with Martell unsigned and the draft still in flux. So ... 70.83% confident. Book it.
Thomas: Assuming Webster's retained and the team stays reasonably health, I think they've got a 70/30 shot at it. Other teams will get better and I don't see the bottom falling out for any of the East's other teams (maybe Brooklyn), and I'm not confident Washington will be able to repeat its defensive performance from last year. That said, Wall should be an All-Star caliber player, Beal should be really good if not quite great, and Okafor and Ariza will be playing for their next contract, so this should be a pretty good team. Assuming the rookie can contribute 20 solid minutes a night, this team should be A-OK.
Mike: They will make it as long as they are healthy regardless of what happens, but one can't assume health with Nene's situation. Let's say 60 percent.
Satchel: Here's the problem with the Wizards making the playoffs next year: the Eastern Conference should be rather tough. At the top, you'll have the Heat, Pacers, Bulls, Knicks and Nets as the big dogs, it's hard to imagine any of those teams missing the postseason. Beyond them, you should have a number of highly intriguing teams much like the Wizards. I do think that Washington will ultimately figure it out, mostly because of the great things I'm expecting from John Wall, but teams like Atlanta, Boston, Milwaukee and Cleveland could be pretty competitive next year depending on what they do this offseason.
Umair: I've been suckered into this before, but at this point, with the Wiz sucking so much for so many years, I have to believe the playoffs are in our hands. I've long been a John Wall supporter, and while the playoffs don't rest on his shoulders, an All Star caliber year for him would ease concerns over Okafor and Nene's age.