Given the unexpected option of selecting Nerlens Noel with the No. 3 pick in Thursday's NBA Draft, the Washington Wizards instead stuck to their guns by taking Georgetown forward Otto Porter. Some may question the move, but GM Ernie Grunfeld expressed his excitement about bringing in the versatile forward afterwards:
"We're very fortunate to get him. I think he's a very versatile player ... real team oriented guy and we're pleased to have him."
Some may wonder why the Wizards chose Porter over a potentially more talented player like Noel, but it seems clear Washington's plan centers on fitting the right pieces around guards John Wall and Bradley Beal. In Porter, Grunfeld believes he's found that kind of player. Via Sky Kerstein of 106.7 The Fan:
"He's a young player who we think could be with us for many many years to come ... [he] fits in well with what we're trying to do as far as Bradley and John are concerned."
Considering the Wizards had the opportunity to select a number of other highly-rated players, from Noel to Ben McLemore, Porter must have been quite high on Washington's draft board. We'll never quite know whether the team preferred Anthony Bennett, the unexpected No. 1 overall pick by Cleveland, but we do know the Wizards never found a trade to their liking. Grunfeld touched on the trade rumors briefly:
"We had a lot of conversations. I wouldn't say anything was close to happening ... always is this time of year."
Ultimately, it appears Porter was simply the preferred route for the Wizards. They had a number of possible opportunities to go in a different direction, but kept things simple by landing the local star who fits team needs.
Regarding summer league, it appears to be a likely route for Porter to get some early reps in pro ball. "We're going to talk to him and in all likelihood he will be with us for summer league," Grunfeld said. For fans struggling to get through the offseason, watching Porter and Jan Vesely do their thing in Vegas should give some reasons to be excited about next fall.