Porter is being tabbed as the safe pick for the Wizards at No. 3 in the NBA draft, the jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none small forward from Georgetown who was in the team’s sights from the day they leapfrogged several teams in the lottery and secured the third spot.
“Safe” is unfair to the forward who played two seasons at Georgetown and just turned 20 this month. Porter would be a great addition who complements the Wizards’ back court of John Wall and Bradley Beal.
And for all the unrealistic wishes of some people who fail to realize that Kevin Love or a player of his ilk was never a possibility in a trade for the third pick, for all those in-the-moment idealists who wanted to make certain the Wizards become a playoff team for the first time since 2008 (guilty as charged), a future with Porter is worth the year or so it’s going to take him to be a major contributor to the roster.
If the upside of UNLV’s Anthony Bennett is greater, the Wizards could be kicking themselves in three years. But then, if you’re Ernie Grunfeld or Randy Wittman, you don’t have three years. At the moment you have today and next season, the team president and coach’s last under contract with the club.
This isn’t a difference-maker draft. How could it be? Three of the top seven or eight picks are going to be sidelined with injuries to begin the season.
In the high-risk, high-reward world of hiring 18- to 21-year-olds, this was a good year to go with a low-risk, longevity stock — and Porter is that player. He is hours from becoming the first prominent player taken by the Wizards from Georgetown since Jahidi White, and the first area star to sign with Washington since Juan Dixon.
If you don’t know Porter’s story, it’s worth summarizing again if only because of its uniqueness within the youth basketball community. Unlike nearly every young American kid who is deemed to have a game by 10 years old, Porter never attended a Nike or Adidas camp, never even played for an AAU summer league team.
Even though the summer-circuit prep showcases give youngsters a chance to be seen and scouted by college coaches and NBA people, most of those gatherings are essentially cattle calls for post-adolescent boys, who are judged on how well they separate themselves from their teammates and opponents — not how well they blend in and actually learn to be part of a team.
If teenagers don’t show well at one of the premier camps or summer runs, it could be the difference between a full-ride scholarship to Syracuse or a Pell grant to play in Poplar Bluff, Mo., where, yes, Otto Porter Sr. happened to star.
Otto Porter Jr. became that throwback player who broke his father’s records and whose favorite memory was the Missouri high school state championship game. He didn’t need Phil Knight or Sonny Vaccarro or Worldwide Wes to validate his talent. Porter’s first plane flight was when he came to Georgetown for his recruiting trip. Heck, he still calls his father his favorite player. One of his biggest deficiencies on the court is that he’s too unselfish.