The Georgetown Hoyas are sitting at home thanks to an early exit from the NCAA tourney at the hands of No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU). Following that upset, the Hoyas have plenty of questions surrounding them next season, foremost among them whether Big East Player of the Year Otto Porter will return.
After a breakout sophomore campaign, Porter appears primed to play at the next level. A do-it-all 6-foot, 8-inch small forward, Porter’s draft stock is on the rise. With his hometown Washington Wizards rumored to need a small forward, should the team go after the local college star on NBA Draft night in June? Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley of the AFRO Sports Desk debate the question.
Riley: I like what Porter has done this season and I like his makeup as a player, but I'm not too sold on his professional success and I’m just reluctant to say the Wizards should draft him. His athleticism doesn't jump out to me, and if you’re trying to find a guy to run with John Wall and Bradley Beal, it would make sense to find a guy who is able to do that. After his outing against FGCU, in which he posted 5-of-17 shooting and had countless missed close shots, I'm not sure how anybody can be high on his draft stock right now.
Green: We both know that one bad game doesn’t make for a career. The guy won Player of the Year in the Big East Conference, which is no small feat. He can play and that’s obvious. What you failed to mention about his game against Florida Gulf Coast is that he hauled in 11 rebounds and hit a big 3-pointed to get the Hoyas within single digits after they had been trailing for several minutes by 11 points or more. I love Porter because he’s mature, does everything on the court and can fit any system. Adding him to the Wizards roster should be a top priority this summer.
Riley: There's nothing I see about Porter that should make Washington break their necks in trying to acquire him. Between the small forward rotation already in place with Martell Webster and Trevor Ariza, is Porter really that much better than those two guys?
Green: There's a rule of thumb in football which says that if you have two starting quarterbacks, then you don't have one starting quarterback. The same rule should apply here. If Washington is shuffling between guys to man the wing position, then they don't have one guy that they can count on to hold that spot down. Webster is a free agent this summer and Ariza will be one next year. Re-signing both would cost far more than simply drafting Porter and watching him grow alongside an emerging backcourt. When you’re a team that's simply not very good you need to be smart about how you build your club and who you spend money on.
Riley: I’d be all for paying both Ariza and Webster, considering how well they’ve played this season. Ariza brings the defensive intensity and Webster is a deadeye shooter. Washington really needs a frontcourt scoring machine, and I like UNLV's Anthony Bennett, a guy who could probably play both forward spots with ease. Porter’s good but would he even be as effective as the current Webster-Ariza combo? No. Porter had his chance to make a statement and he didn't do it.
Green: Porter's been making a statement all season, which is what prompted the Player of the Year honor from one of the best conferences in college basketball. I’ve seen Bennett play and he’s the definition of a “tweener”: too slow for the small forward spot and too small for power forward. Porter fits a true position, and judging by his rapid improvement this year, he’ll only get better as he gets more acclimated to his skill set. The fact that he's in Washington's backyard kind of makes this a no-brainer for me. I would re-sign Webster, draft Porter and let Ariza walk after next season. Webster could be my swingman off the bench while Porter would be my starting impact forward. The Wizards can't afford another draft blunder, and would certainly be making one if they passed on drafting Porter.