2013 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot

Otto Porter close to making Wizards debut, Thursday practice key


The Washington Wizards have gone 7-3 in their last 10 and have moved into the No. 3 seed in the East (at 9-9, but still the three seed) all without having the No. 3 pick in the last draft Otto Porter, who was supposed to be the starting three on this team.

But they could get him back soon — maybe even Friday — reports J. Michael at CSNWashington.com.

“I feel good, for the first time, going up and down (the court),” Porter said after an almost two-hour session at Verizon Center on Wednesday. “I don’t know about Friday. But I feel like I’m getting more in shape.”

“I liked what I saw today. At the end, he got winded,” (Wizards coach Randy) Wittman said. “That’s going to be expected. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of bounce he’s got coming in tomorrow on a back-to-back (practice). Like I told you with Chris, it’s kind of a feel. He’s not going to come in and play 30 minutes. We’re going to ease him in.”

Porter played some in the Summer League (he struggled as the style of play there doesn’t fit his game well) but suffered a hip flexor injury in preparing for training camp. He missed all of camp and the preseason, now has to hit the ground running in the regular season.

Thanks to good play from Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster, the Wizards don’t have to rush Porter back. They can ease him into minutes, let him find his way.

He’s a potentially great fit with John Wall and Bradley Beal, but as the goal remains making the playoffs this season in Washington, expect to keep seeing a lot of Webster and Ariza.

Greg Smith fails physical, will not join Pelicans

Greg Smith
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With both starter Omer Asik and backup Alexis Ajinca out injured for the rest of the preseason (and maybe a little longer), the Pelicans are looking for a center to put next to Anthony Davis for a stretch. That could include a handful of regular season games.

Greg Smith was going to be that man, but the 24-year-old failed his physical, reports the Times-Picayune.

The New Orleans Pelicans were set to sign power forward Greg Smith, but sources said Friday night that he failed his physical examination and will not be joining the team.

And so the search goes on.

The problem is, there are not quality big men still out there on the market, there is a limited supply and just about anyone worth having is spoken for. A few with non-guaranteed contracts may be waived as we get closer to the end of training camps, but that is likely a couple of weeks away.

With both Asik and Ajinca expected back in a few weeks, it’s not worth making a trade or some big move to bring in a center, the Pelicans are just going to have to live with what is out there.

Kevin Durant with huge dunk on visiting Fenerbahce Ulker

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Welcome to America, Fenerbahce Ulker.

The Turkish powerhouse was in America playing some exhibition games this preseason, and they got a first-hand reminder that Kevin Durant is back. KD had 13 points in the Thunder’s easy 111-81 win.

Not to be outdone, Russell Westbrook got in on the act.