By Ben Standig and Brian Jackson
Best bet to turn strong summer league performances into a regular season success, not to mention a rotation spot: Otto Porter or Glen Rice Jr.
Ignore for a moment the team's investment in each player. Martell Webster, the primary backup to Trevor Ariza and Bradley last season, is expected to miss the start of the regular season while recovering from offseason back injury. Therefore, reserve minutes are available. In terms of getting their name called, Porter, the No.3 overall pick in the 2013 draft and Rice, selected in the second round, have an equal opportunity.
Considering the limited scoring options off the bench, Rice, who was named MVP of the Las Vegas Summer League, could be a great fit opposite wily veteran point guard Andre Miller. That is he can harness his volume shooting desires and defend with equal passion.
This is where Porter has the edge, not to mention the aforementioned investment from the Wizards. Part of the calculus in letting Trevor Ariza sign elsewhere involved providing the former Georgetown star with the chance to spread his legs. That's still the case even with the addition of Paul Pierce. If anything, Washington will want Porter to play plenty during the regular season so the soon-to-be 37-year-old is rested for the stretch drive. The factor in that Pierce will play some at power forward in small ball lineups. In addition, Porter is the best bet of the two to fill Ariza's shoes as a wing defender. All of that is a long way of saying Porter and Rice can be in the rotation, but the smart money is on Porter.
When you're the No. 3 overall pick in the draft eventually you have to play, so in that case I agree with you Ben. But in terms of the biggest wildcard on the Wizards roster, look no further than Glen Rice. Jr. Washington hasn't had a consistent wing scorer (Martell Webster is more of a spot up shooter) off the bench since Jordan Crawford was shipped out of town.
Of all the wheeling and dealing Ernie Grunfeld did this summer, he didn't really add any guards to the roster. Free agents Andre Miller and Garrett Temple are holdovers from last season. Neither of them provides the scoring punch that Rice can offer.
That fact was highlighted during the NBA Summer League where Rice took home MVP honors after averaging 25 points and 7.8 rebounds. Like most young scorers the former second round pick could stand to work on his shot selection. Come the NBA regular season he'll be reigned in by the veteran presence of Miller on the Wizards' second unit. With Webster nursing a back injury there is no true back up for Bradley Beal. If Rice can match the aggressiveness he showed this summer, there's no reason to think he can't carve out a role playing 10-15 minutes a night.
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