After the Washington Wizards were graced with the No. 3 overall pick in the NBA draft a few weeks ago, fans and analysts have been split as to whether the Wizards should trade away the pick in exchange for a draft pick and a veteran player or two.
While there are rumors that some teams, such as the Minnesota Timberwolves, would be interested in trading up to the No. 3 pick, Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfeld would be making a huge mistake if he traded the pick away—assuming there are no outstanding offers on the table
For example, if the Sacramento Kings were willing to give up their No. 7 pick and center DeMarcus Cousins, using the pick to draft a younger player would be best for Washington. However, the coveted Cousins trade is unlikely, according to Jason Jones, who covers the Kings for the Sacramento Bee.
Other offers out there could be the Timberwolves offering their No. 9 pick and Derrick Williams to the Wizards, according to Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press, but Washington should still focus on sticking to picking a younger player.
At the No. 3 spot, Washington simply has too many solid options at that pick to trade it away, even for a player like Williams.
Georgetown small forward Otto Porter and UNLV's Anthony Bennett have both visited with the Wizards in predraft workouts, making them two of the most likely picks at the No. 3 spot. If the Wizards were to take either player, they would be filling a hole in their current roster.
Picking Porter would mean filling the small forward position, which is currently unoccupied after Martell Webster became a free agent at the end of this season. Porter would also bring a scoring threat to the Wizards offense.
In his sophomore season with the Hoyas, Porter averaged over 16 points per game while shooting 50 percent from the floor during his collegiate career.
Taking Bennett would give the Wizards a young power forward, which they need considering the current starter, Nenê, will be turning 31 in September. Nenê is also coming off of two straight seasons that were shortened with various injuries.
While Bennett's defensive play is questionable, he is certainly capable of putting up points and is very athletic. Bennett can not only shoot jumpers, he can also drive to the basket and draw fouls, making him the offensive big man that the Wizards need.
Although he only played one season in college, Bennett led UNLV in points and rebounds and was second on the team in field-goal percentage.
If Porter was to go to the Cleveland Cavaliers at the No. 1 overall pick, that could also leave Nerlens Noel available to the Wizards, who has the highest upside of anyone else in the draft. Although Noel only played in part of his freshman year at Kentucky after missing the second half of the season with a torn ACL, he still has massive potential.
If he could stay healthy, Noel would not only bring more fans into the Verizon Center to watch games based on his hype alone, he could also play at either power forward or center—two areas that are currently positions of need in Washington.
As previously mentioned, Nenê is aging and center Emeka Okafor will be entering the last year of his contract. Okafor is also aging and his offensive production wasn't nearly as good during the 2012-13 season as it had been previously.
If Noel were available, it would be almost impossible for the Wizards to turn down the 10.0 points and 9.5 rebounds he averaged per game in college.
If Noel and Porter were both taken before the Wizards' pick, that would still leave them with Bennett, who has more upside than trading for someone like Williams, who has struggled to find his role in the NBA.
Besides the talent that Washington has the chance to pick up, it's the lack of talent that can come out of trades that is more of a repellent.
Sure, Grunfeld has been able to pull off some solid trades in the past that have saved Washington some cap room, most notably dumping Rashard Lewis' contract by trading him to the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for Trevor Ariza and Okafor.
However, he has certainly made some major trading mistakes in the past when Grunfeld thought getting a veteran to fill an immediate need was more important than drafting.
Take for example the 2005 trade that gave the No. 5 pick to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Antawn Jamison, or the 2009 draft when the Wizards sent their No. 5 pick to the Timberwolves in exchange for Randy Foye and Mike Miller.
Neither of those trades translated into much for Washington.
Should the Wizards trade their No. 3 pick or keep it?
Although the Wizards made the playoffs in 2006, they were ousted in the first round by the Cleveland Cavaliers. They weren't even that fortunate in 2010 and missed the playoffs after finishing 26-56.
Trading the No.3 pick this year would make sense if there were any outstanding talents offered, but the only rumors have been around average players, such as a trade rumor confirmed by Sam Amico of Fox Sports that the Milwaukee Bucks would give the Wizards Ersan Ilyasova in exchange for the No. 3 pick.
Ilyasova can stretch the court and averaged 13 points per game this season, so he's certainly not a scrub. Ilyasova would also solve the aforementioned hole at small forward.
However, he doesn't bring anything to the table that Porter couldn't, and Ilyasova is 26 years old, compared to Porter, who is 20. Even if the Bucks packaged their No. 15 pick in that trade, it would send the Wizards too far back in the draft to get a player who has as high of a ceiling as someone like Bennett or Porter.
Yes, there will be teams interested in getting the No. 3 pick, but previous experience has shown that if Washington wants to rebuild in the right way, it needs to do it through the draft.