The 2013 NBA draft has come and gone and Otto Porter wound up with a red, white and blue cap. Here's are the thoughts and opinions of the Bullets Forever team.
1) So, now that the deed is finally done, how do you feel about the Porter pick?
Amin Vafa: I feel good about it. He's going to have a long career, and a core of him, Beal, and Wall going forward is something strong and steady that the Wizards haven't had in a while. I'm on board.
Bullet Nation in Exile: Ecstatic, can't wait for Summer League. I think the Wizards made a tough decision and the next priority will be finding the guy they didn't draft, but that doesn't mean the draft pick was faulty. I think the question must be, can Otto Porter start as one of the three feature players on a championship team? I think that answer is yes.
Mike Prada: Happy, but a little scared that the Wizards passed on Nerlens Noel. Porter was the obvious pick and my clear preference, but I had no clue Noel would be the guy to drop. The fact that a bunch of other teams also passed on Noel is comforting, as it seems there might be more serious knee injuries at play. But overall, that scares me a bit.
Satchel Price: Very good. I'm convinced management viewed Porter as the best player available, so the Wizards got their man. I thought Noel was the better prospect in general, but there are enough reasons to give Porter the benefit of the doubt.
Umair Khan: I feel great about it. I've gone on record numerous times saying that the gap between Porter and Noel was not as large as some have indicated. From a cultural standpoint, he fits in with what this franchise is aiming for. And from a talent perspective, I think he has a lot of room to grow.
Jeff Newman: Relieved. Porter was the obvious pick, and yet how many of us were biting our fingernails down to the wire, coming up with ways Ernie & Co. might mess things up? But they got it right, so kudos to them for being reasonable, I guess. Porter is the perfect complement to Wall and Beal along the perimeter and gives the team a third key piece to build around for a decade plus. His detractors like to focus on the fact that Porter doesn't have an "elite" skill, but he does everything well, and I'll take a guy good or better at everything than a guy who's "elite" at one thing *cough* shot blocking *cough*
Thomas Pruitt: Underwhelmed. I think Porter's going to be good, but he'll be Trevor Ariza good, and I wish we would have gone with someone with more upside. Wings who aren't elite athletes and are mediocre ball-handlers tend to be available on the cheap, either in free agency or late in the first round. He's no Jared Jeffries but I doubt he'll be as good as Bradley Beal.
2) Should Washington have rolled the dice and gone with Noel when he fell?
Amin: Well, considering that he fell all the way to sixth (after Cody Zeller AND Alex Len), and then he got traded to Philly, I think there's something we all didn't know about him that caused him to fall (perhaps his knee was more injured than we all thought?). So I'm OK with passing on Noel.
BNIE: Ernie Grunfeld certainly had to put on his big boy pants for that one, eh? Only a madman could be comfortable in such a situation, and there isn't much to do but make your peace. Of course, I remember Clips Nation making their peace when they sent their unprotected first to Cleveland to save some money.
Mike: Impossible to say given Noel's health issues, which I don't have access to right now. But if he checked out and the rationale was the Wizards wanted a guy who could help right away ... I'm grumpy.
Satchel: Sure, but Porter is the next-best scenario. Considering the Kentucky star fell to No. 6 and then got traded, I think it's clear his stock wasn't where people thought. Everyone may end up being wrong on Noel, who could end up being the best player in this class, but I'm pretty content with Otto.
Umair: You stay true to your draft board, and I think there was enough of a scoop on Noel's knee to scare teams away. It's not unreasonable to have Porter over him on your big board; any additional red flags just puts it over the top.
Jeff: I don't think so, but I wasn't high on Noel to begin with. I'll admit, when Bennett went No. 1, for a brief second I thought "oh man, do we have to consider Noel now?" Then I remembered why I didn't care if Noel fell to us or not: a 210-pound center with unreal defensive potential, but absolutely zero offensive game? No thank you. Oh, and he's got a torn ACL? Yeah, no. Again, gimme the versatile, zero-maintenance wing who knows how to play basketball on both ends of the floor.
Thomas: OMG yes! I'd rather have a seven foot tall defensive specialist than a 6'9 one, plus Noel's weaknesses -- namely his weight and knee -- should improve with age. He may be nothing special, maybe a rich man's Dalembert, but even the actual Dalembert cost someone $10 million a year when he was at his peak. It also doesn't hurt that he's marketable as all get out and played at Wall's alma matter.
3) Now that Porter's in the mix, where do you think this leaves Webster and Ariza?
Amin: I think Ariza sticks around, at least until the trade deadline. Webster will still probably come back, but maybe he'll go somewhere that pays more. If he does come back, I expect Ariza to play a lot more 2 than he was this past season already.
BNIE: Noticeable reduction in minutes, perhaps. Some small-ball lineups with Ariza at 4? Big line-ups with Webster at 2? With Trevor Ariza on an expiring deal when the trade deadline represents one of the most crucial points in the entire rebuild, it's really hard to factor him into the mix, long term. Porter and Webster at the 3 going forward? Uh, yes, please.
Mike: I think the same as they were before: Webster as a free-agent priority as a starter or key reserve, and Ariza on the trade block. One thing I'll add: I don't think the second-round pick of Glen Rice Jr. changes the equation one bit. It's clear the Wizards took who they thought was the best-player available there.
Satchel: Same place as before -- Webster remains a major free agent target, Ariza could get traded. Some may wonder whether there's enough room with Porter and Glen Rice Jr. coming in, but there's some flexibility with these guys; at times, you might see Porter playing the 4 or Ariza sliding over to the shooting guard spot. In some ways, it's ideal for contemporary NBA basketball, because the wing depth allows Washington to mix up between big and small lineups with ease. And if a deal for Ariza comes along, there's definitely depth to move forward now.
Umair: Both should stay in Washington regardless. You'll always need a shooter like Webster, he's been extremely open about coming off the bench. And I think it would go a long way toward Porter's development having Ariza on board teaching him the ropes and showing him how to defend the elite offensive wings in this league.
Jeff: I'm not sure much changes. It's still imperative for the Wiz to bring back Webster, both for his shooting and (to a lesser extent) what he adds to the locker room. There might be a little glut at the position, but Ariza figures to be traded at some point or leave via free agency next offseason. I don't think Porter will be ready to play starter's minutes right away, Webster has an injury history, and all three players can play multiple positions in small or big lineups, so Randy Wittman will be able to play with the roster and have depth should someone go down.
Thomas: For a hot second I thought it meant one would be with another team on opening day. When you think about it, though, both Ariza and Webster can play spot minutes at shooting guard, and Porter may be able to see time at the four in small lineups. That could even make his transition to the NBA easier, assuming the team avoids putting him up against any bangers. He's a weak ball handler and ok shooter for a small forward, but he's above average if you compare him to most undersized power forward.
4) What kind of player do you see Porter becoming at his peak? What type of statline do you see him putting up?
Amin: A really solid 3 and D guy. Tayshaun Prince, but with a better three-point percentages and four more points per game. I'm totally making this up, but hey, why not?
BNIE: The highest ceiling an unnamed GM dared utter Scottie Pippen, the floor was rather universal at Tayshaun Prince. I think Porter is the prototypical small forward in Mike's model for a contender. He's long, smart and makes the right basketball decisions with range and confidence. I don't like projecting stat lines...but let's say career averages of 14-17ppg/6-7rpg/3-4apg/1-2spg/1-1.5 bpg
Mike: A cross between Tayshaun Prince and Kawhi Leonard. He has Prince's length defensively, combined with Leonard's court sense and (now) perimeter shooting. He doesn't rebound as well as Leonard or dribble as well as Prince, but he has those kinds of skills.
Satchel: Porter could be an All-Star. I know people slam this draft for the lack of impact players, whatever that means, but I think people underestimate Porter's defensive potential. With his length and smarts, I don't think it's unreasonable to believe he could be a legitimate All-Defense member at some point in his career. Will that alone make him an All-Star? No, but if he can become an effective three-point shooter who moves well without the ball, that's a rich man's version of Tayshaun Prince. In a world where Luol Deng makes All-Star teams, if Porter is putting up 17-7-3 while playing plus defense, he could earn some nods.
Umair: At his absolute peak, I can see him being a 15-8-4 guy, but his impact will be felt on the defensive end. Plugging in driving lanes, coming from the weakside to take a charge, funneling his man into help, that's where he'll make his money. There really isn't a player comparison out there for Porter given his unique nature as a mid-range shooter and high post facilitator as well as being more of a team-oriented defender rather than a lockdown defender a la Kawhi Leonard.
Jeff: I actually like Mike's take on Porter being a mix of Prince and Leonard. I think physically Porter is more like Prince (lanky and fluid, but not an explosive athlete) than Leonard, but I think he'll be a more impactful defender ala Leonard. But I think he's a more natural scorer than either of them, and showed at Georgetown that he has a midrange and developing post game, in addition to the ability to hit the three. At his peak, with Wall as his point guard, I can see Porter being an 18ppg, 6rpg, 4apg, 2spg, 1bpg type of player. I'll say it again: the guy just knows how to play basketball, measurables be damned.
Thomas: Trevor Ariza when he was with the Lakers. I think he'll be a good passer who picks up high value assists, does above average on the boards and gets all of his points off of layups and corner threes. If he can improve his ball handling and post game he should be able to score a little bit more, but at his peak, I think he'll put up somewhere in the neighborhood of 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists with a true shooting percentage in the high 50s.
5) Ernie seems to be all about getting an impact player. What impact will Porter have on Washington during his rookie year? Can he help push this team into the playoffs?
Amin: The playoffs will depend on last year's team being healthy. Porter will be icing on the cake, but I don't think he'll be the difference between making or missing the playoffs.
Derek: Porter will allow Randy Wittman to get more creative with small-ball and big lineups as I mentioned above. The team will be more responsive to opposing teams' gimmicks without sacrificing shooting. This is especially important as Bradley Beal recovers.
Mike: I think it'll be similar to Bradley Beal last year. He'll start slow and come on in the second half of the year, eventually seizing more minutes and possibly even starting late in the season.
Satchel: Porter will have to fill the role Wittman asks of him. Obviously that involves playing quality team defense, but I also think Porter can help as a scorer off the ball early on. With Wall and Beal commanding defensive attention, Otto should be able to find some clear routes to the rim for easy baskets -- assuming he can put extra pressure on defenses by hitting the occasional jumper, his ability to find open spots without the ball could allow him to be effective as he learns to open up better opportunities for himself off the dribble. Then again, will Porter really be the difference-maker in Year 1? I would argue that Wall, Beal and Nene will ultimately determine whether Washington ends its postseason drought.
Thomas: Pretty much what Mike said. As relatively down as I am on him as a long-term prospect, I think he'll be able to contribute immediately, especially if the improvements to his jumper stick and he can put on a little bit of weight. Especially if one of the team's wings can play ten or fifteen minutes a night at power forward, this looks like a team that will run eight deep with quality players (I think Price is undervalued due to his ability to guard quick point guards) and should be able to ride the John Wall show to a 45 win season. The defense might slip a little as Porter learns the ropes, but by the end of the season, we should be pretty good.
What are your takeaways from last night's draft? Chime in with your opinions in the comment section and tell us how you feel!