Less than a year after acquiring Maurice Harkless as part of the trade that got Dwight Howard out of their hair, the Orlando Magic would not appear to be interested Thursday night in drafting another small forward.
But in a draft without much else to choose from at that position, the Magic cant simply ignore Otto Porter Jr. especially because the Washington Wizards, who will pick immediately after them with the third overall selection, are thought to have their hearts set on the former Georgetown star.
A threesome of Porter, John Wall and Bradley Beal could make the Wizards the team in the Southeast Division with the most realistic chance of narrowing the enormous gap between the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat and everyone else.
Beal, who left Florida after one season and was the third pick a year ago, once tried to get Porter to play on the same AAU team with him and Ben McLemore, the guard from Kansas who many are projecting to be chosen by the Magic. But Porter decided against it.
I stayed home and worked on my skills a lot more, Porter said during last months draft combine in Chicago. I had cousins and friends that played AAU. I figured I could just stay home and work on my game and the exposure would come later when teams could see I can play and I had talent.
The 6-foot-8, 198-pound Porter averaged 16.2 points and 7.5 rebounds as the Hoyas went 25-7. He said during the combine that he modeled himself after Tayshaun Prince, the longtime fixture with the Detroit Pistons who is now a member of the Memphis Grizzlies.
Prince lasted until the 23rd pick of the first round in 2002. That was the same year that the Magic, selecting five turns ahead of the Pistons, ended up with the long-forgotten Ryan Humphrey after getting him from the Jazz for Curtis Borchardt in a draft-day trade.
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, who once had Carmelo Anthony on his team, said Porter was the greatest small forward to ever play in the Big East. Although his jump shot is often described as unorthodox, Porter improved his long-range proficiency and scoring average from his freshman year playing for John Thompson III, who called him by far the best player in the draft. He has a 7-1 wingspan that makes him multi-dimensional, and he gets to the free-throw line with regularity and a was a 77 percent shooter there.
Perhaps the most encouraging sign is that hes referred to as smart and composed. He only turned 20 a few weeks ago, but it was rare to see him get flustered on the court.
While he is not without muscle definition, Porters lack of weight is a concern. So is his inability thus far to impose his will on a game and create clean looks for himself. On defense, his speed and length can cover up some shortcomings he has when it comes to lateral quickness. He might be able to get away with that in college, but not in the pros.
He needs to develop a consistent jumper, but maybe he shouldnt be too concerned with aesthetics. After all, Shawn Marion has carved out a nice career with an ugly-looking shot.
Why the Magic should draft him
Talented players from winning programs with high character are always in demand.
Even after only two years at Georgetown, Porter might be a more finished project than Harkless, who could be better suited for shooting guard than small forward further down the road. A case can be made that Porter is Victor Olapido with more size and scoring ability.
Why the Magic should avoid him
Teams shouldnt necessarily draft according to need. That being said, theres nothing about Porter which would suggest hes a better fit for them than McLemore, Oladipo or any other guard available.
If hes snatched up by the Wizards, thats the risk Magic general manager Rob Hennigan will just have to take.
Jeff Green, now with the Boston Celtics, and Porter are the only Georgetown products since Alonzo Mourning in 1992 to earn Big East player of the year honors. Marquette forward Jae Crowder, the 2011-12 winner, wasnt drafted until early in the second round and is now with the Dallas Mavericks.
You can follow Ken Hornack on Twitter @HornackFSFla or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.