I expected John Thompson III would speak highly of Otto Porter’s NBA readiness as the draft approached. I would not have expected Georgetown’s coach to describe Porter as “by far the best player” in the upcoming draft.
That’s what Thompson said last week, during an appearance on ESPN 980′s Inside the Locker Room. (Audio here.) This started after Scott Jackson asked Thompson about the chances of Porter being chosen No. 3 by the Wizards.
“I think he’d be a very good fit for the Wizards,” Thompson said. “He may not be there by the time the Wizards draft. But do I think he would be a good fit? Absolutely. You look at the nucleus that they have, particularly with John Wall and Beal, that’s a terrific backcourt. They already have a few people that play his position, but I think he would be a very good complement, very good fit, very good piece to the Wizards puzzle.”
Brian Mitchell then asked if Thompson was breaking news by saying Porter might be gone at No. 3, suggesting that someone would make a headline out of that quote.
“The breaking news is that John Thompson III thinks he’s by far the best player in this draft,” the coach responded, with what sounded like a slight laugh. “And so if I had number 1, I would take him. If [someone] didn’t take him at 1, if I had 2 I would take him. And if [someone] didn’t take him at 2 and I’m the Wizards, I would take him. So that’s the breaking news: that I think he’s the most complete, the most ready player in the draft right now.”
Maybe not breaking news, but certainly a headline. Thompson also offered up Paul George, one of the breakout stars of these playoffs, as a potential NBA comparison for Porter.
“I think he’s going to be terrific,” the coach said. “Otto is someone who, with his size and his length and his athleticism and his intelligence, initially, right out of the gate, offensively he’ll be able to play multiple positions. And then as he gets stronger on the other end of the court, he’ll be able to guard multiple positions. Whoever gets him is going to get someone that is NBA-ready, to come in and contribute at a high level right out of the gate….A good comparison with him, I think, is Paul George, when you look at someone with that size, how he can affect the game from the defensive end, how offensively he poses problems. Because he can take you off the bounce, because he can make a shot, because he can go inside.”