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Washington Wizards Draft Reaction: The tautological tale of the tape

A gentle reminder that the most useless discussions are often the least factual. Whether you think the Wizards rightly stuck to their guns or missed a franchise-altering opportunity, remember we all love the same team and the facts are few. Thou shalt not harsh thy fellow dewd.


We try to imagine a PTI-style argument that could have taken place after the Washington Wizards decided to take Otto Porter over Nerlens Noel in the 2013 NBA Draft.

Announcer: Good evening and welcome to Wizards Draft Reaction. This is the night of nights and we're here tonight with your hosts Chip Haymish and Douglas V. Davis. Also, welcome to our guest host, Sloth from Goonies.

Sloth: [glares into the camera and tilts head back] Hrunhhhh!

Announcer: Great to have you here. Chip will start us off tonight. Chip?

Chip: [dramatically shuffles his shoulders, staring deep into your very soul] What we saw tonight in Washington D.C. is history repeated. This is a franchise, that under Ernie Grunfeld, the only consistency their fans have known is underachievement. The next game-changing talent fell like manna from heaven, and you pass on it, saying you'll have the pizza? No disrespect to Otto Porter, I love pizza. BUT PIZZA DOESN'T WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS. Nerlens Noel is truffle oil. Well, you know what they say, cast not pearls before swine.

Douglas V.: [drops his head, glancing askance at Chip] You know what? The Wizards got their guy. Why do they need to change their plan because the Cleveland Cavaliers draft Anthony Bennett? They have Nene in the frontcourt. They have Emeka Okafor. This is a team that could surprise a lot of people next year.

Sloth: [jerks his head back and forth, stares into the distance] SLOTH!

Chip: Thank you. It's not about next year for Washington. That city is hungry for a contender. If we can forget about RG3 for a moment, the Wizards had a chance to add the ingredient every would-be championship basketball team needs: a rim protector and defensive quarterback with the athleticism to match his IQ. They blew it.

Douglas V.: [expression has improbably become more incredulous with every sentence his colleague has uttered] How many NBA Finals champions have had an elite one-way rim protector at Center as one of their three best players? The road to the championship over the next 10 years goes through LeBron James. It goes through Kevin Durant. You have to have strong, if not elite perimeter defense to counteract that, and your guys have to be two-way players. Otto Porter is a two-way player. I'm not buying a car I can't put into reverse. Basketball is played on both ends of the court.

Sloth: [jerks spastically as both men turn to look at him] AUGH!

Chip: [waves derisvely] Exactly my point. These kids have yet to play a single game at the professional level. There's nothing that says Nerlens Noel can't develop an offensive game or that Otto Porter will be anything better than an average NBA player. Nerlens Noel may never be Shaquille O'Neal, but we won't know that until we start to see this young man's career take shape.

Douglas V.: [affects the 'say what?' posture] Shaq? You are not bringing up Shaq. [Sloth chuffs in agreement] You are not bringing up one of the all-time greatest offensive centers in the history of the NBA and suggesting a 20-year old who hasn't shown anything on that side of the court could achieve a dominance no center anywhere has, since he retired.

Chip: [frowns intelligently at his co-host] First of all, Nerlens Noel is 19. I repeat, he is 19 years old. His career is an open book. His character is an open book. Clean-cut. No tattoos. The sky is the limit for him. No one knows what this fine young man is going to be. I don't. And you don't, either.

Douglas V.: [stone-faced] I know he's no Shaquille O'Neal.

Chip: [turns to the camera] And what about Phoenix? That's what I really don't understand. They lost Steve Nash. They missed out on Eric Gordon. They brought in Luis Scola and Michael Beasely, I suppose to remain competitive and posted their worst record since their expansion year. They fired their GM, brought in a really sound executive from the Celtics organization to run their draft, and it's another underwhelming personnel move. Once again, for the Suns, it's checkers, not chess.

Douglas V.: [nodding furiously] Total agreement. For Phoenix, it's all about the 2014 draft and getting their franchise player. With their medical staff, Noel's injury history is practically irrelevant. At the same time, he'll be learning behind a veteran center in Marcin Gortat who played behind Dwight Howard, didn't see a lot of minutes. Gortat would have helped Noel through the frustration of not being able to play while Noel would also be afforded the chance to learn the game mentally like Blake Griffin and his injury situation when he was drafted. At the same time Noel is being brought along slowly, the Suns are still looking at a very high lottery pick next season. Drafting Noel was win-win and they found a way to lose. This has been the tale in Phoenix since Amare Stoudemire walked out the door.

Sloth: [a flicker of intelligence in his eyes as he turns to Chip] Rocky...road.

Chip: [nods sagely] Indeed. Challenges continue to present themselves in Phoenix. But what do you think about the Philadelphia 76ers and their decision?

Sloth: Hrmphhh. [scratches his posterior and whines a bit]

Douglas V.: [chuckles] It made us all uncomfortable. Philly traded an All-Star point guard and their first-round draft pick in a very deep year and it's only protected Top 3. They've got an elite defensive center prospect, but there's one thing they're forgetting. [exaggerated nod to co-host]

Chip: [nodding feverishly] Andrew Bynum.

Douglas V.: [stares into the camera, channeling his inner 'Come on, man!'] Andrew. Bynum. Five minutes ago, the 76ers traded away Olympian Andre Iguodala and some very promising prospects for the right to this man. And now they've made him irrelevant as a free agent. What does that say to him?

Sloth: [grunt-screams angrily]

Chip: Anyone would feel unappreciated. And when he's healthy, this man is very near the class of the NBA. He doesn't want to play for a rebuilding team, and that's what this trade makes the 76ers. A rebuilding team without a first-round pick in 2014.

Sloth: New Orleans sent the pick, not Philly.

Douglas V.: Adorable. [smiles] Which brings us to Washington's master plan. By forcing the 76ers to acquire Nerlens Noel, a true franchise-caliber center will hit the open market. [slaps his hand on his leg with each declaratory word] WHICH. IS. ONE. LESS. HOME. FOR. DWIGHT HOWARD.

Chip: There you have it, Wizards Nation. Ernie Grunfeld passed on Nerlens Noel because Dwight Howard. Until next time, on behalf of Douglas V., Sloth and myself-


Chip: Yes. From all of us here at Wizards draft reaction, good night.

More from Bullets Forever:

• NBA Draft: Wizards select Porter | Trade up for Rice Jr.

Webster wants "to be wanted."

Roundtable: Did the Wiz do the right thing?

Was passing on Noel a mistake?

Defending the Rice Jr. trade.

Casual Hoya: Meet Otto Porter.