The No. 1 pick in Thursday’s NBA draft could either be a player with a broken ankle (Alex Len) or one with a torn up knee ligament (Nerlens Noel). And the best power forward on the board (Anthony Bennett) is recovering from a bum left shoulder.
In a draft that most scouts and talent evaluators consider to be short on immediate impact players and long on role players, the Wizards have been tasked with finding a quality talent worthy of the third overall pick. Their options include those three injured players and Georgetown’s Otto Porter, the only candidate for No. 3 that the Wizards brought in for a visit who was healthy enough to work out.
With so many promising talents sidelined for the summer, the Wizards will have to base their projections without going through the full evaluation process.
“This is the first time in recent memory that three out of the top seven, eight, 10 players are coming off injury or surgery-type situations,” Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld said in a brief news conference on Tuesday, “but it’s something that you have to let your doctors look at and you have to do a lot of research from where they are and how quickly their rehab goes and what comes after that. So it does complicate things a little bit.”
But by Thursday, it might not matter. Grunfeld hasn’t offered any hints about his leanings, though the team has been linked the most with Porter and UNLV’s Bennett — and most rival executives and scouts don’t expect Porter to slip past Washington.
“We’re probably going to go with the best player available for our situation . . . for where we are and where we’re trying to head,” Grunfeld said. “We’re going to take the best player that we feel will fit into what we’re trying to accomplish.”