If the Wizards choose Otto Porter in this year’s NBA draft, it would make many local fans happy, because he played college basketball for Georgetown University. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Washington basketball fans are holding their breath for Thursday evening, when the Wizards have the third pick in the National Basketball Association (NBA) player draft. (In each year’s draft, every team gets the right to sign a contract with some of the best players who are leaving college.)

Wizards fans are hoping the team will add a terrific player to their roster to go along with veterans John Wall and Nene. But how good will the third pick be this year?

One way to figure out what might happen is to look at the past. Let’s study the No. 3 picks in the NBA draft from the years 2000 to 2009. Those players have been in the league long enough for us know if they are good or not so good. Here’s the list.

2000 — Darius Miles

2001 — Pau Gasol

2002 — Mike Dunleavy

2003 — Carmelo Anthony

2004 — Ben Gordon

2005 — Deron Williams

2006 — Adam Morrison

2007 — Al Horford

2008 — O.J. Mayo

2009 — James Harden

Five of these players — Gasol, Anthony, Williams, Horford and Harden — have been all-stars. Dunleavy, Gordon and Mayo are not stars, but they have contributed to their teams.

The No. 3 picks in the past three NBA drafts, including the Wizards’ Bradley Beal, look as if they are going to be solid players, too. So the Wizards should get a very good player with their pick.

But there are no guarantees. My guess is that not many KidsPost readers know Darius Miles or Adam Morrison. That’s because they were not very good even though they were drafted third. Morrison lasted only three seasons in the NBA.

So which player should the Wizards choose? First, they have to wait for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic to make their picks. Then the Wizards can pick from among the remaining players.

Local college hoops fans want the Wizards to pick Otto Porter, who played his college ball at Georgetown. I’d love to see that. The 6-foot-8 do-everything forward would help the Wizards.

Or maybe the Wizards will trade their pick to get a current NBA player. If they do, they should get someone who could start for the team right away. Remember those five all-stars we talked about.

One more thing about the No. 3 pick: Michael Jordan was the third pick in the 1984 NBA draft. He turned out to be the best No. 3 pick ever.

Fred Bowen writes the sports opinion column for KidsPost. He is the author of 19 sports books for kids. His latest basketball book is “Real Hoops.”