After being selected third overall, Otto Porter had a slow rise on a roster with two fellow star players. Now, in his fourth season, Porter is playing well for a Washington Wizards team that needs it.
With some teams, it’s out of sight, out of mind. The Washington Wizards appeared to be on that pace early in the league.
With a 3-9 start to the regular season, the Wizards had several issues to start the year.
A questionable bench unit didn’t help matters, but the Wizards struggled, the Bradley Beal–John Wall dilemma still brewed early this season and their biggest free agency acquisition, Ian Mahinmi, is still dealing with an injury and is now out until February.
But since then, the Wizards have played well, going 19-10 in their last 29 games and getting up to the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference. The much-maligned contract for Beal has paid off so far, with Beal averaging 22.5 points per game and shooting 41 percent from three.
His backcourt brother has been even better, with Wall averaging 22.9 points, 10.1 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2.2 steals.
And alongside those two has been Otto Porter, who after three years in the league has taken that leap to become the player the Wizards envisioned when they drafted him with the third overall pick in 2013.
Each season, Porter has made incremental improvements as he saw his playing time increase.
All the numbers are going in a positive direction. Porter has improved his true shooting numbers the last four seasons while becoming more dependent on his three-point shot.
Porter shot 19 percent from beyond the arc as a rookie and is currently shooting 43 percent on four attempts per game. His turnover percentage has decreased in each of his last four seasons and his box plus/minus his jumped to 3.8 after ranking under 2.0.
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As his usage rate would suggest, Porter isn’t a primary option on offense. Wall and Beal do a good job running and operating the offense and Porter has to settle for what’s left. The good thing, however, is that he’s good at just that.
Per NBA.com’s Play Type date, Porter has a PPP of 1.38 this season in spot-up plays, good for the 97th percentile.
It’s not just his offensive value has risen his star, but his defensive numbers have elevated as well. Porter’s defensive rebounding rate has elevated the last four years to 16.9 percent this season.
The Wizards are better on defense with Porter on the floor and his RPM numbers – 3.69 overall, good for sixth among small forwards – have improved.
The Washington Wizards are coming up to an interesting situation with Porter, his second contract. Having paid Beal last summer, with money locked up in Mahinmi and Marcin Gortat and with a Wall extension looming, can the Wizards afford a max contract for Porter?
The Wizards have to worry about paying him this offseason, but for now, Porter has evolved into an excellent contributor for the Wizards this season. Based on his previous three seasons in the NBA, there’s still room for Porter to grow and develop into an even better player in the near future.