Share

Lottery success brings new options, decisions for Wizards

|
Sports,NBA,Wizards,Craig Stouffer

Lottery success brings new options for Wiz

Leapfrogging forward to the third pick in the 2013 NBA draft is certain to reduce the volume of player evaluations required by the Wizards coaching staff and front office in the coming weeks before the big event takes place on June 27.

But it won't make the decision any less significant for a franchise that can't afford to miss the playoffs for a sixth straight season. Here are some of the ramifications of the Wizards' lottery success:

Washington is likely to keep the pick, though trading it remains an option.

During exit interviews, Wizards players and even coach Randy Wittman clamored for veteran depth to help a team that showed signs of improvement in the second half of the 2012-13 season. But the Wizards' options at pick No. 3 are far better than they were at No. 8 or lower. There's less incentive to make a trade unless Washington is enticed into a blockbuster deal, and it would take a lot of convincing to blow up a core -- John Wall, Bradley Beal, Nene -- that they put together and believe in.

Otto Porter Jr. is an obvious fit at No. 3, but will he be there, and can the Wizards do better?

The Georgetown sophomore forward, the school's first All-American since Allen Iverson, was the overwhelming favorite to land with the Wizards on draft boards immediately after the lottery. At 6-foot-8 with sound fundamentals, versatility and a willingness to play defense, rebound and learn, Porter has the hallmarks of a solid professional, even if he's never an All-Star. With business-savvy and ticket sales-minded Wizards owner Ted Leonsis sharing the same alma mater, it may not matter if UNLV forward Anthony Bennett is a more polished offensive talent with greater upside.

The harder choice could come for Washington if Porter and Bennett both aren't available. Kentucky center Nerlens Noel and Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore are regarded as the top two players available, but the Wizards could take the more unusual route of considering Indiana swingman Victor Oladipo -- a DeMatha graduate and Prince George's County native -- or Maryland center Alex Len. They could also trade down to get one of them.

The Wizards have more leverage in their attempt to re-sign Martell Webster.

Wall, Beal and others have expressed the desire to bring back last year's 3-point shooting veteran, but the Wizards now have less incentive to get into a bidding war for his services and could be more reluctant to sign him to a long-term contract.

Washington will also pay at least $1.36 million more to the third pick than they would have for the eighth pick, $3.57 million instead of the $2.21 million -- and the number could be higher as first-round picks usually sign for 120 percent of their slotted salaries. That leaves less for Webster and other free agents.

The addition of a player like Porter or Bennett would also add to an already overflowing crop of young forwards, which includes Trevor Booker, Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton. There may not be room for all of them to return next season.

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

View article comments Leave a comment