We are now at 2 days and counting until the 2013 NBA draft goes down. While the anticipation builds and the rumors continue to fly, there really are a lot of questions at the top of the draft this year. Will Nerlens Noel go first overall? Who will the Cavs take #1? Will their be any crazy draft day trades that change who is selecting with the top picks?
While there are definitely a ton of unanswered questions, the fact remains that the Washington Wizards have the opportunity to select a player who can come in immediately and contribute to this team and help have an impact on their goal of making the playoffs for the 2013-2014 season. With the draft kicking off one of the most important off-seasons in recent Wizards memory, the team can not afford to miss on their pick.
There are several players that could be a good fit in Washington. Taking who will and who will not be available out of the equation, these are the top 5 best fits for the Wizards:
5. Ben McLemore
15.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2 assists — 49.5% FG, 42% from 3
Ben McLemore is a highly athletic shooting guard with a picture perfect jump shot who should have no problem adjusting to the range of the NBA three point line. He is very good at spotting up and his athleticism makes him an excellent option on fast breaks and in transition. He will need to work on creating his own offense and scoring off the dribble, but McLemore has a very high ceiling and with the right development and team fit has a bright future.
Many mock drafts and experts have McLemore going to Orlando with the second pick. The Magic would be a much better fit for him as the Wizards drafted their shooting guard of the future, Bradley Beal, third overall in last year’s draft. Obviously the Wizards need to grab as much talent as they can, and McLemore would head up the second unit as a bench scorer, but it just doesn’t seem likely that Washington will take another shooting guard, especially one that can’t double as a backup point guard as well.
4. Anthony Bennett
16.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1 assist — 53.3% FG, 37.5% from 3
Bennett is a very versatile scorer who can bang inside and overpower smaller guys, and he can also take it outside and knock down the long range jumper. His overall game on the offensive end is very polished. The questions surrounding his game include his defensive ability, as well as lack of effort. There are also concerns regarding his shoulder injury, and some are worried that he has the body type that can easily put on weight which would hamper his already questionable conditioning.
Most of the Wizards draft talk between fans has come down to Anthony Bennett vs. Otto Porter Jr. I am not as high on Bennett as some people are. There are red flags all around him, and the most concerning one to me is lack of a consistent effort. The Wizards organization has already gone down the road of taking guys who don’t give 110% and we all know how that ends up. I am not saying Bennett won’t become a very solid NBA player, but I don’t think the Wizards organization will be the one that gets him there. In a sad way, it is depressing saying your team shouldn’t take a player with a lot of potential because you don’t trust they have the ability to groom said player and develop them into what they could be. Taking an undersized tweener who is going to need a lot of development to become a complete player should not be on Washington’s radar.
3. Victor Oladipo
13.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists — 59.9 % FG, 44.1% from 3
Victor Oladipo is known as a defensive stopper, and there is no doubting his tenacity and intensity on that end of the floor. He has all the physical tools to be an excellent lock down defender in the NBA. The thing that really has me excited about Oladipo as a prospect is his improvement on the offensive end. His efficiency and improvements on offense from his freshman to sophomore year show just how hard he works on his game and the potential he has on that side of the floor. He improved his percentages across the board, taking his overall field goal percentage from 47.1% to 59.9%. The biggest improvement came from the three point line, as he jumped from just 20.8% to 44.1% on 20 more attempts last season. The growth in Oladipo’s game shows that he is just scratching the surface of his improvement, and I believe there is much more to come from him on the offensive end. He will need to improve his ball handling and creating his own shots, but those are all things that can and will be worked on.
Seeing the impact that Kawhi Leonard had in the playoffs, and in particular the finals, shows how important having a player like that is for successful teams. For a while now, I have been calling Victor Oladipo a slightly smaller Kawhi Leonard. I believe he is going to be the guy that teams look back on regarding this draft and wish they had taken him. A lot of Wizards fans don’t think Washington should take him because we already have our backcourt of the future set with Bradley Beal and John Wall. I actually believe he would be a great fit with the Wizards, and I am rather high on Dipo — maybe not as high as John C Townsend from Truth About It. He could come off the bench at first, immediately improving the Wizards questionable second unit. And I could easily see him playing some minutes at the small forward position when the Wizards go small, and in particular at the end of games when they need a stop. If Washington comes away with Victor Oladipo in this draft, I know I won’t be mad about it.
2. Nerlens Noel
10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 4.4 blocks — 59% FG
At this point we all know that Nerlens Noel is the favorite to be the number one overall pick. The Cleveland Cavaliers seem to be putting out all kinds of information regarding their pick, but in the end I believe they will select the big man out of Kentucky. The biggest question surrounding Noel is obviously the recovery of his knee from a torn ACL. Whatever team ends up getting the lanky defender is not going to be able to plug him into their lineup immediately. Noel is going to be a force on the defensive end, as can be seen by his 4.4 blocks per game last season. He is a great rim protector, and is a very good pick and roll defender. His offensive game is and will be a work in progress, but he is a good passer for a big man. He also is a very good finisher in transition, and when healthy, should have no problem running fast breaks with a team that likes to run.
I don’t see Nerlens falling to the Wizards, but if he does it is highly unlikely that he is still available at 4. While he wouldn’t be the immediate impact player that the Wizards really need, you can’t really pass on a big man that has a much potential to impact a game as Nerlens Noel has. Imagining Noel (at the end of this upcoming season or the 2014 season) running the fast break with John Wall should be something that all Wizards fans could be happy about.
1. Otto Porter Jr.
16.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists — 48% FG, 42.2% from 3
Otto Porter is the most versatile player in this draft. He can do it all on both ends of the floor. He may not be outstanding at any one aspect of the game, but his ability to contribute in all facets of the game is a huge plus. The phrase “jack of all trades, master of none” could apply to Porter. On the defensive end, Otto has the length and discipline to bother small forwards and plays the passing lanes very well. He will need to add some weight in order to stay in front of some of the stronger wing players, but seeing as how he just turned 20 in June, he shouldn’t have any problem adding bulk once he gets in an NBA program. Porter is also a solid rebounder for the SF position. On the offensive end, he doesn’t need to have the ball in his hands in order to make an impact. Porter makes smart cuts and his mid-range jumper makes him a good prospect to play the pick and roll game. He is a very good passer and can help find the open man and keep the ball moving in the offense. Porter’s ability to step out and hit the three will also help stretch the defense, opening things up for inside players or guards who like to drive.
I have been beating the Otto Porter to the Wizards drum since about sometime in December. At that point, I caught a little flack from some Wizards fans on Twitter who were telling me that he wouldn’t be a good fit with the Wiz. Slowly, Porter dominated the beginning of 2013, which also correlated with the Wizards winning some games and then all of the sudden the situation flipped. It looked like not only would it not be a stretch for the Wizards to want Porter, but that he was going to be gone by time Washington drafted. Luckily the Lottery Gods smiled down and jumped the Wizards from 8th to 3rd, bringing OPJ right back into discussion as the best fit for the Wizards. The “safe pick” thing is also ridiculous. Sure Otto Porter may be a safe pick, but that doesn’t Ottomatically lower his ceiling just because his floor is so high. The improvement Porter showed from his freshman to sophomore seasons show that, similar to Oladipo, he has a lot of potential on the offensive end and his game is continuing to grow.
I believe Otto Porter Jr. is the best fit for the Wizards. Pairing him with John Wall and Bradley Beal should immediately improve Washington’s offense, both in transition and in the half court. The fact that he can play on the offensive side of the ball with and without the ball in his hands makes him a perfect fit in DC. With a little increased size, I can easily see him playing stretches at the 4 position when we decide to go small, giving us that elusive stretch 4 that everyone has been looking for. I can’t think of a more perfect fit for the Wizards, both immediately and long term.
-I think CJ McCollum would be an excellent fit here in Washington. He would be the perfect combo guard the Wizards need who can score off the bench and also run the offense when John Wall sits. I considered placing him at 5 over Ben McElmore, but decided McElmore’s ability and potential were too high to bump him. With that being said, I believe McCollum is going to have one of the better careers out of this 2013 draft class. A dream scenario would have the Wizards grabbing Otto Porter at 3, and then somehow making a trade to get back into the 7-10 range to grab CJ McCollum.
-Other guys I would like in DC if Washington was picking a few slots later: Cody Zeller, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Len.