Otto Porter (center) could be a Washington Wizard by the time the 2013 NBA draft finishes Thursday night.
There are still rumors swirling around the draft, and rankings of several players have changed greatly since the final game of the NCAA basketball season.
Nerlens Noel, who was once considered the best option for the No. 1 overall pick, is now in competition with Alex Len for that spot. With those rankings constantly in flux, it makes it that much harder for Grunfeld and the Wizards to determine who may be available at their three draft picks in this year's draft.
Washington has the No. 3 overall pick, and then has the No. 37 and No. 54 picks in the second round. The second round of the draft usually doesn't yield much more than a bench player, but that No. 3 pick could set the Wizards up to be very successful in the future, giving them three young players as their core.
However, that doesn't mean role players cannot be picked up in the second round by Washington, and could be used as trade bait as draft day closes in. But assuming Washington doesn't trade any of its picks, they must narrow down the list of potential draft picks. These picks must fill a hole on the current roster, and should be a fairly safe pick. Grunfeld can't afford to have another Jan Vesely on his hands.
These are the top three options that Grunfeld should consider for each of Washington's three picks in Thursday's draft.
Ever since Washington won the No.3 overall pick in the draft lottery, there has been speculation over who the Wizards should take, or if they should trade away the pick for a proven veteran. So far, no trade has been made, leaving fans to assume that Grunfeld has elected to go with drafting a player.
The Wizards should use this pick to either draft a small forward or power forward. Both are positions of need in Washington, with a complete hole at small forward and a need for a younger power forward with the aging Nenê entering the last three years of his contract.
This pick seriously hinges on who goes No. 1 overall to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the Wizards should look at these players assuming they'll be available at No. 3.
1. Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown - Porter is the safest pick at No. 3, and would instantly be the starting small forward in Washington. He probably will never be a five-time All Star in the NBA, but he does show the ability to be an every-day starting small forward. Porter can score and he is a great teammate. Also, at age 20, he would be the third piece to create a potential "big three" in Washington in the coming years, complementing the young John Wall and Bradley Beal.
2. Anthony Bennett, PF, University of Nevada, Las Vegas - There are certainly some concerns about Bennett, especially his defensive play, but he is the scoring big man that the Wizards need, averaging 16 points per game in his one season with UNLV. Like Porter, Bennett is young and has a lot of room to grow, but Porter may be the safer pick here given Bennett's injury history and his poor defensive play.
3. Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky - This option is of course assuming that Noel doesn't go at No. 1 or No. 2, but Noel does have tremendous upside. Noel is tall but doesn't have much weight on him, and his past injury history would suggest he isn't the most durable player. Noel's defense is obviously his biggest strength, but he is pretty average offensively. Given the questions surrounding Noel, he is pretty far behind Bennett and Porter in this ranking.
This is a tricky spot in the draft, when GM's are tempted to take a gamble on someone, but could still afford to take a backup player. In Washington's case, they could certainly lose some depth, considering they are losing Jason Collins, Cartier Martin and A.J. Price to free agency.
1. Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan - With Beal's health in question after his rookie season, Hardaway Jr. would be a good pick here to back up Beal. He might go a little ahead of this pick, with CBS's Gary Parish predicting him to go at No. 36, but it's not out of the question to say he'd be available. Hardaway's shooting percentage isn't that great, but he did average 14 points and four rebounds per game in three years at Michigan.
2. C.J. Leslie, SF, North Carolina State - If Washington doesn't land Porter at the No. 3 pick, they'll still be fishing for a small forward. Leslie certainly wouldn't be a starter, but he could come off the bench and play behind another small forward, perhaps Martell Webster if Washington was to re-sign him. Leslie hasn't been talked about all that much leading up to the draft, but he did average 15 points per game this year for the Wolfpack and shot 52 percent from the floor.
3. Myck Kabongo, PG, Texas - Although he only played 11 games this season after he was suspended for 23 games for working out with a professional trainer, Kabongo would be a nice backup to Wall. He has prototypical size and speed for a point guard and could benefit from spending a year or so in the Development League. After that, Kabongo could certainly be a bench player, and this pick gives Washington an opportunity to gamble on a player.
At this point in the draft, Washington is just picking someone and hoping they can one day make it out of the D-League. However, having a second pick in the second round allows Grunfeld to get creative and he may get lucky and have a little-known player pan out in a few years. Again, Washington should focus on depth with this pick.
1. Khalif Wyatt, SG, Temple - This pick certainly wouldn't be a surprise, given that Wyatt has already worked out for the Wizards prior to the draft. It's a surprise that there hasn't been more hype surrounding Wyatt, considering he was the Atlantic 10 player of the year, averaging 20 points per game in his junior year. His 41 percent field-goal percentage is certainly a red flag, but the Wizards could use a scoring threat like Wyatt off the bench.
2. Brandon Davies, C, BYU - Davies made a name for himself during Jimmer Fredette's time at BYU, but Davies was suspended for violating the school's honor code. At this point in the draft though, Grunfeld shouldn't look past someone who averaged 17 points and eight rebounds per game. Most analysts are questioning what his ceiling could really be in the NBA, but he could come off the bench behind Emeka Okafor and Kevin Seraphin to at least get a few minutes per game, then the Wizards could see where he could go once Okafor is gone.
3. Grant Jerrett, PF, Arizona - If Washington hasn't taken a power forward by this point in the draft, Jerrett is certainly a possibility. DraftExpress has Jerrett ranked as the No. 58 overall player in this year's draft. He left Arizona after only one year, with that year being a rough transition period from high school. Most people questioned why Jerrett left Arizona, but he will definitely hear his name called on draft day, having a ton of raw talent. This would definitely be a risky pick, but you can't ask for much more at the 54th pick.