“With the third pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, the Washington Wizards select Otto Porter Jr. from Georgetown University.”
That was about as much excitement that came with the name Otto Porter Jr. in the NBA last season.
Porter, the 2013 Big East Player of the Year and first team All-American, had an extremely disappointing rookie campaign. Just months before the season began, he impressed NBA scouts and GMs with his ability to score, shoot at a high percentage from multiple spots on the floor, and grab rebounds.
In his second and final year at Georgetown, Porter averaged 16.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while playing more than 35 minutes per game. He was the undisputed star of the team and he led the Hoyas to a No. 2 seed appearance in the 2013 NCAA Men’s Division I tournament.
Georgetown unfortunately stood in the path of Florida Gulf Coast, who shocked the college basketball world by winning two games as a No. 15 seed. Just three weeks after the upset loss, Otto Porter declared for the 2013 NBA Draft.
Joining a Wizards roster with several established veteran small forwards may have been a shock to Porter’s system. Going from being the star in Georgetown to the third string in the pros isn’t out of the ordinary, but may have been a difficult transition for Porter.
Obviously I’ve never been a Division I college basketball player who made it to the NBA but I would imagine it’s no easy task to go from playing 35-plus minutes per game down to eight minutes per game just months later, and still manage to be effective and productive in the new role.
The 2013-14 season had a number of Rookie of the Year candidates, with Philadelphia’s Michael Carter-Williams eventually taking home the trophy. “Otto Porter” wasn’t exactly being shouted from the rooftops as a name to be on the look out for, but he was in the conversation as he should have been, being the third overall pick in the draft.
I’m not saying it’s completely his fault, because he dealt with a hip injury early in the season. As for when he was healthy, it’s up to the coaching staff to put him in the game.
But did he show enough to earn their trust with a scoring role off the bench? In 2013-14, Porter didn’t even make his professional regular season debut until Dec. 6, when he came off the bench and logged a stat line of 14 minutes, 0 points on 0-of-3 shooting, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover and 2 fouls.
Not exactly the debut Washington fans were hoping for after waiting a month to see. Porter didn’t score his first NBA point until his third game, where he notched four points in 15 minutes of play. The 2013-14 season came and went. By the end of April, Porter played in a total of 37 games, averaging 8.6 minutes, scoring just 2.1 points per game.
He never scored in double digits. His shooting percentages, which were well above average in college, fell to dismal levels.
It would be an understatement to say that Otto Porter Jr. is excited to turn the page and look ahead to 2014-15. He’ll have the opportunity in training camp to demonstrate to the Wiz coaching staff that he deserves to be a contributing role player off the bench behind an aging Paul Pierce.
With Trevor Ariza moving to Houston earlier in the offseason, the door is open.
Glen Rice Jr. is the only guy keeping that door from swinging open even wider for Porter.
Rice, 23, and Porter spent their summer playing alongside each other in the NBA Summer League. Rice led the entire Summer League with 25 points per game. Otto Porter wasn’t far behind with 19 points per game.
The two men excelled, and they attribute the success to playing together all summer.
The difference between the two may have something to do with their experiences during the 2013-14 season. Porter spent the season coming off the bench with the Washington Wizards, meanwhile Rice spent the majority of 2013 in the D-League where he was able to further hone his skills.
He found himself playing big minutes and posting big numbers — I wouldn’t call it a coincidence that Rice slightly outplayed the younger, more highly-touted Porter in the Summer League.
You could come up with a grocery list of things Otto Porter needs to do to evolve into a bigger role with the team and live up to his draft status. Bleacher Report came up with several key checklist items for the young small forward to work on.
Defending multiple positions, shooting the three with a level of consistency, and becoming the “glue guy” off the bench will transform Otto Porter Jr. into the type of professional basketball player that he has the potential to become on the Washington Wizards.