The destinies of the two basketball teams that call Verizon Center home are starting to converge. Whether they meet will depend on chance but also potentially on the choice of someone many have grown to distrust with such decisions.
The Washington Wizards and Georgetown Hoyas are both playing better as spring nears, though the similarities end there.
The Wizards' 14-11 record since a healthy John Wall returned to the court doesn't fully explain how well they have played since early January. In this week's NBA.com power rankings, they're up to No. 18.
But with the league's third-worst record and 24 games to play, they're headed to the NBA Draft lottery for the fifth straight season.
This is where the Hoyas come in. Georgetown (23-4, 13-3 Big East) has ridden Otto Porter Jr. to 11 straight wins, the top of the Big East and potentially a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Porter came into the year as a projected first-round pick only to transcend into a national player of the year candidate and potentially a top-five lottery selection.
Did we mention that the Wizards' most glaring need is small forward? With Porter's combination of on-court skills and mental maturity, there might not be a better fit in the current draft class than the 6-foot-8, 205-pounder who plays in the same building.
The last time the Wizards had legitimate high hopes, team president Ernie Grunfeld traded away the No. 5 pick (that could've been Stephen Curry) for Mike Miller and Randy Foye. When he had to make a difficult selection in 2011, he selected Jan Vesely, who can barely get off the bench and is averaging nearly as many fouls (2.37) per game as points (2.69) or rebounds (2.40). It's hard to credit him for John Wall, who was a no-brainer at No. 1 in 2010, though Bradley Beal has proven to be the right choice last year at No. 3.
For Porter to move to the locker room down the hall, he still has to declare for the draft, be available when the Wizards go on the clock and get selected by Grunfeld. Of the three, the latter might cause the most anxiety.
- Craig Stouffer