Wizards select Georgetown F Porter with 3rd pick
WASHINGTON (AP) - Randy Wittman went through some anxious moments before it came time for the Washington Wizards to use the third overall pick in the NBA draft.
Washington's coach didn't care who went first and second - as long as it wasn't Georgetown sophomore forward Otto Porter, Jr.
And so, after Cleveland took UNLV forward Anthony Bennett and Orlando selected guard Victor Oladipo of Indiana on Thursday night, the Wizards didn't come close to using their allotted five minutes before choosing the 6-foot-8 Porter.
"I was worried,'' Wittman said. "I told the kid when he came here, `Don't go visit anyplace else.' You never know. You feel somebody's going to grab him, and it could have happened. I don't think anybody really had a great idea the order that it went, with Bennett and Oladipo going 1 and 2.''
In a draft that started with a couple of surprising selections, the Wizards stayed true to form in taking Porter, a versatile small forward who should complement the backcourt of former first-round picks John Wall and Bradley Beal.
"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.''
Washington also had two second-round picks, but a person familiar with the situation said the Wizards traded those selections to the 76ers for guard Glen Rice Jr., who was taken by Philadelphia with the 35th pick. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.
Washington picked Nate Wolters at No. 38 and Arsalan Kazemi at 54, but their rights will ultimately be sent to the 76ers if the deal is approved.
The Wizards get Rice, who played guard at Georgia Tech. He was suspended several times, and finally was booted from the program. He played last season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the D-League.
Porter, however, is the gem of the Wizards' draft. Washington could have had Nerlens Noel of Kentucky, Alex Len of Maryland or just about anyone else with the third choice.
They wanted Porter. Period.
"We had our board in order, and when it was our time to pick, he was the highest rated guy on our board,'' Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld said. "We're pleased to have him.''
Porter - the Big East Player of the Year - led the Hoyas last season with 16.2 points and 7.5 rebounds a game.
"He has the total package,'' Grunfeld said. "He has good work ethic. He's a team player. He can do multiple things out on the floor. He can guard several positions, and he's a young player who we think could be with us for many, many years to come. And he fits in well with what we're trying to do as far as Bradley and John are concerned.''
The Wizards have gone five straight seasons without making the playoffs, but they believed they took a significant step toward ending that drought by throwing Porter into the mix.
"From where we're at and where we think we can be going into next year, it's a great piece to add to this team,'' Wittman said.
Porter is right at home in Washington, and he's very familiar with the Wizards' home floor because he played on it the past two seasons with the Hoyas.
"Not moving anywhere, and I'm already used to a city, it definitely helps me transition to the NBA,'' he said. "Just being comfortable with the city already, it's just a true blessing.''
The Wizards also had two picks in the second round, at 38th and 54th overall. After taking Porter, however, they were confident that the draft was already a success.
"I think we have three important positions filled,'' Grunfeld said. "Otto has great size for his position at small forward, but he can play some power forward if he has to. If you want to go small, he can guard 2 guards, so he provides a lot of versatility. Otto is 20 years old. Bradley's going to be 20 (Friday) as a matter of fact, and John is 22. So we have three very solid players we can build with moving forward.''
At least, that's how it appeared on the surface.
"All I know it's not an exact science, this draft,'' Wittman said. "You try to do the best you can and you try to envision how a certain player is going to fit in with what you have and where you're trying to go. That's what we did with Otto.''
SI Now Live Friday December 20, 2013
SI Now: Olympians on Liberty Mutual, gearing up for Sochi