Otto Porter Jr. continues Washington Wizards’ NBA draft youth movement

June 27, 2013

Former Georgetown star Otto Porter, at 20 years old, becomes the third member of the Wizards’ roster who is 22 or younger. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

The Washington Wizards‘ youth movement continued Thursday night when, with the No. 3 overall pick, they selected Otto Porter, who declared for the NBA draft following his sophomore season at Georgetown.

At 20 years old, the Big East player of the year is already older than Wizards starting shooting guard Bradley Beal. The No. 3 overall pick last season turns 20 Friday. Then throw in starting point guard John Wall at 22, and Washington has three players in their rookie contracts around whom the team can build.

“We’ll find out,” Wizards Coach Randy Wittman said Thursday when asked about the upside with Wall, Beal and Porter. “You don’t know how long it’s going to take [Porter] to adjust to the NBA. All I know it’s not an exact science, this draft. 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.”

Porter is penciled in at small forward for the Wizards, but Wittman and team president Ernie Grunfeld both endorsed their newest player’s versatility. At 6 feet 8, Porter is natural fit on the wing, especially with Washington’s preference to push the ball in transition, but he can play power forward and guard multiple positions, Grunfeld said.

In college, Porter led the Hoyas in scoring (16.2 points per game), rebounding (7.5) and steals (1.8) and was second in blocks (0.9). He was third in assists (2.7) and was the most indispensable player on a team that won the Big East Conference regular season title.

“I’m a basketball coach, so whenever there’s a basketball game in our arena and I’m around, I stick my head in and watch,” Wittman said. “Georgetown plays here. I had an opportunity to get a little bit better feel. What Coach [John] Thompson [III] does with the players here, he forces them to learn how to play the game the right way.”

The first-team all-American and only unanimous selection to the Big East all-conference team was the most fundamentally sound player for the Hoyas last season, and that attention to detail was highly attractive to the Wizards. Porter also showed he was comfortable in half-court situations or running the fast break.

The Wizards’ top decision makers also praised Porter as a responsible defender who can guard multiple positions, including shooting guards should Wittman decide to use a smaller lineup

“Obviously it’s going to be a lot of work ahead of us, but I think we have three 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. I think we have three positions filled with very young players in their original rookie contracts.”

Gene Wang is a sports reporter covering many local and national beats, including Navy football, the Capitals, Wizards, Nationals, women’s basketball, auto racing, boxing and golf. He joined The Washington Post sports department in 1990 as a member of the high school staff and worked as a copy editor and assignment editor for almost 19 years.
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Matt Bonesteel | June 27, 2013