Dec 6, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards small forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) and Wizards shooting guard Glen Rice Jr. (14) laugh on the bench against the Milwaukee Bucks in the third quarter at Verizon Center. The Bucks won 109-105 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Wizards: Could Glen Rice Jr. Be Future At Small Forward?

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When the Washington Wizards selected Otto Porter Jr. with the third overall pick in the 2013 draft, they did so in expecting Porter to be the future at the small forward position.

After a disappointing rookie campaign in which Porter only appeared in 37 games and scored only 78 points that thought process has changed. By all accounts, it was one of the worst rookie seasons for anyone ever picked in the top-three of a draft.

While there is no reason to give up on Porter (he looked good in Summer League), there is certainly hope for another player the Wizards selected in that 2013 draft.

The Wizards selected Glen Rice Jr. with the the No. 35 pick in 2013. Rice Jr. took a unique path to the NBA.

After being kicked out of Georgia Tech for a variety of reasons, Rice elected to play in the D-League immediately. He played the 2012-13 D-League season for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, helping them win the D-League title.

Nov 12, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Washington Wizards shooting guard Glen Rice Jr. (14) warms up before the game against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Wizards 105-95. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Rice was one of the best players in the D-League by the end of the season. During the regular season, he averaged 13 points per game along with 6.2 rebounds while shooting 49.1 percent from the field and 38.5 from beyond the arc.

However, he was on another level in the playoffs. In six games, he averaged 25 points per game with 9.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists. Whoever you are playing, those are ridiculous stats.

Playing in the D-League was a great experience for Rice as he became more accustomed to professional basketball and played against better talent than he would have if he continued to play at Georgia Tech.

Unfortunately, we still have not gotten to see much of Rice at the NBA level. He was back and forth between the D-League last year because of injuries (broke his wrist celebrating) and how the Wizards roster was constructed so we only saw him in 11 games as a Wizard.

I guarantee, if Rice is healthy, we will see him much more this season.

For one, the Wizards are all of a sudden slim at the small forward position. Last year, there was no room for Porter or Rice because Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster were playing all of the minutes.

Now, Ariza is a Rocket and Webster is out three to five months after back surgery. The Wizards did add veteran Paul Pierce to be the starting small forward, but the backup spot is wide open.

I think we will see the No. 35 pick in the 2013, Rice, play most of those minutes over the lottery pick, Porter.

Rice is so much more physically advanced than Porter and just fits better into what the Wizards are doing at this moment.

For one, Rice is a much better outside shooter and so much of the Wizards offense is predicated off of John Wall drive and kicks. As a starter in the D-League, Rice shot 39.1 percent from beyond the arc. He would benefit even more with a point guard like Wall. We would see a whole lot of this.

GIF, via Draft Express

GIF, via Draft Express

Porter is not nearly as good of a shooter as Rice is and that is so crucial to what the Wizards are trying to accomplish on offense with Wall.

The Wizards also love having Wall come off the pick and roll and have the roll option bring a help defender into the lane, freeing up the wing on the weak side for an open 3-pointer. Just like this.

GIF, via Draft Express

GIF, via Draft Express

Here is Rice’s shot chart from that 2012-13 season.

Via, NBA dleague.com

Via, NBA dleague.com

That is pretty impressive. He also finished really well around the rim because of how many closeouts he attacked. If he shoots the 3-pointer at a high rate and has Wall setting him up, he will be able to get into the lane and score effectively.

GIF via, Draft Express

GIF via, Draft Express

GIF via, Draft Express

GIF via, Draft Express

Rice is an extremely good athlete. He is scary in transition.

GIF, via Draft Express

GIF, via Draft Express

Via, Draft Express

GIF Via, Draft Express

GIF via, Draft Express

GIF via, Draft Express

Like seriously, imagine him running the wing with the ultra fast Wall. It could be really fun and effective. Also with him and Wall getting out on the break it could really have defenses scrambling and leave open 3-point looks for sharp shooting Bradley Beal trailing the break. I like it.

Rice, like all young players, does have some deficiencies. He is a lackluster defender at this point. Mostly because he is lazy on defense.

I mean for how good of an athlete he is, this should not happen.

GIF via, Draft Express

GIF via, Draft Express

With time and a devotion to defense, Rice has all the intangibles to be solid defender. He is long (6’9.25″ wingspan) and can jump out of the gym. He does occasionally do this.

GIF, via Draft Express

GIF, via Draft Express

Not many 6-foot-6 players have the ability to recover from doubling in the post to blocking a shot at the rim. It is plays like this that lead me to believe Rice can be an impactful defensive player if he really wants to be.

While defense is a question mark, the biggest question mark is that we just haven’t seen Rice play against legit NBA players consistently. Sure, he dominated the D-League and summer league this year (was named MVP of Las Vegas Summer League), but going against top players night after night is a different animal.

Personally, I think Rice will not have any problems in the NBA. He is top-notch athlete, can shoot the hell out of the basketball, and to me, seems like he would thrive playing with a player like Wall.

Health permitting, Pierce is the small forward for the next two years, but from what I have seen from Rice  and what I expect to come, he could be the future small forward for the Washington Wizards.

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Tags: Glen Rice Jr Otto Porter Washington Wizards

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