- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 29, 2013

A basketball player — that’s what the Wizards wanted in the 2013 NBA draft with the third overall pick, and with the selection of Otto Porter, coach Randy Wittman is certain the team met its goal.

“He’s a guy that makes you better,” Wittman said at a press conference Friday at Verizon Center. “He does a lot of different things and does them good. He’s not going to be [a player] that’s going to be labeled. He’s a rebounder; he blocks shots; he’s a shooter — he’s a basketball player, and we need basketball players.”

Lately, the Wizards have had success drafting solid basketball players. Porter is the third top-three pick for Washington in the past four drafts. The two prior selections were John Wall (No. 1 pick, 2010) and Bradley Beal (No. 3 pick, 2012). The Wizards organization is satisfied so far with the young talented core it has assembled.

Porter, too, is thrilled to play in Washington and stay at Verizon Center, home court to Georgetown where he led the Hoyas to a Big East regular season championship this past season.

“This is like a second home,” said Porter, native of Sikeston, Mo. “I’m blessed to be in this position. This is just indescribable.”

Porter is fond of the city not just due to the support he received in his college days, but he also loves the rich history in the District.

He has been shy and humble, truly a man of few words in his interviews and press conferences, but in describing his draft-night experience in New York that turned his childhood dreams into reality, a boyish enthusiasm overtook his mellow demeanor.

“[Draft night], I’ve never felt like that before,” said Porter. “The whole process is new. [Being drafted] is something that I will remember for the rest of my life.”

Now that Porter is getting settled in, Wittman has the task of deciding the lineups and minutes to reach the team goal for the 2013-2014 season — making the playoffs. As for Porter’s chances to gain the starting job over veterans Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster, Wittman said it is not his decision.

“He’s going to determine that,” said Wittman. “The players determine that.”

Porter was undoubtedly the top player at Georgetown, leading the Hoyas is points (16.2) and rebounds (7.5) per game, but coming into the NBA he will have to prove he belongs and earn his keep like every other player on the roster. As Porter puts it, he would not have it any other way.

“I’m just going to work for it,” Porter said regarding a starting position. “I don’t want anything given to me.”

Statements like those are some of the many reasons the Wizards organization felt comfortable passing on Kentucky big man Nerlens Noel and drafting Porter, who had been atop the team’s draft board since January.

Now he’ll have to prove his worth to the Wizards and the NBA.

“I feel like I can always get better,” Porter said. “I have to raise my game to another level. To be able to compete at this level you have to be able to improve every year.”

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