Otto Porter: 2013-14 Washington Wizards Player Review
TAI’s 2013-14 Washington Wizards player reviews…Now: Otto Porter (by Sean Fagan).
Previously: Andre Miller (by Rashad Mobley); Drew Gooden (by John Converse Townsend); Kevin Seraphin (by Kyle Weidie); Trevor Ariza (by Conor Dirks); Martell Webster (by Adam Rubin); Al Harrington (by Kyle Weidie); Garrett Temple (by Adam Rubin); Trevor Booker (by Adam Rubin); Glen Rice, Jr. (by John Converse Townsend); Chris Singleton (by Kyle Weidie).
6-9 : Height
198 lbs. : Weight
21 : Age
1 : Year NBA Experience
1 : NBA Team
Drafted by the Wizards third overall in 2013.
Time as a Wizard in 2013-14
37 : Games
0 : Starts
319 : Minutes
NBA historical PER contribution equivalent:
maybe David Vaughn for the 1995-96 Orlando Magic (6.0)
maybe Frank Kornet for the 1989-90 Milwaukee Bucks (6.1)
-0.006 Win Shares/48 Minutes
NBA historical WS/48 contribution equivalent:
maybe Perry Jones for the 2012-13 Oklahoma City Thunder (-0.003)
maybe Kenny Green for the 1985-86 Washington Bullets/Philadelphia 76ers (-0.003)
With Porter ON the court vs. off
The Wizards offense scored 8.8 points less per 100 possessions (OffRtg)
The Wizards defense allowed 2.5 points less per 100 possessions (DefRtg)
Plus/Minus per 48 minutes: minus-0.9
Numbers, per 36 Minutes
8.8 : Points
6.4 : Rebounds
0.1 : Blocks
0.9 : Steals
1.1 : Assists
1.6 : Turnovers
2.9 : Fouls
Porter had 111 offensive possessions with the Wizards that ended with a FGA, TO or FTs, and he scored 0.72 Points Per Possession (PPP) on those, ranked 435th in the NBA (via Synergy Sports Technology). Defensively, he allowed 0.69 PPP over 70 possessions, ranked 11th in the NBA.
36.3% Field Goals (33-91)
3190% 3-Pointers (4-21)
66.7% Free Throws (8-12)
What did we expect?
The plan the Wizards had for Otto Porter was beautiful in its simplicity.
Draft their small forward of the future (there was no indication that the Wizards had remotely pondered selecting anyone else prior to the draft; then they gave credence to that by passing on the injured and falling Nerlens Noel), sign a mentor to bridge the gap in experience (Martell Webster, who resigned at a rather hefty rate for his locker room leadership and 3-point shooting), and retain a nice, juicy trade piece in Trevor Ariza (who opted into playing for the Wizards last season). Ariza could be dangled to other teams in desperate need of front court help for further building blocks or a player to shore up any weaknesses that became apparent as the season progressed.
In theory, the plan seemed sound. Porter was one of the few draft picks who did not grow up playing in the AAU system, which breeds a type of “me-first” basketball that needs to be ground out of rookies. He had mastered a complex system at Georgetown and thrived. He was also “finished enough” that while no one felt that Porter would yank the starting role from anyone, it was reasonably expected that he could average 10-to-13 minutes and around 7.5 points and be enough of a facilitator to keep the second unit offense flowing—sometimes he would even play with the starters.
However, great plans are meant to be ruined, and Porter’s rookie campaign so confounded those who had predicted even an inkling of success that observers are essentially left with a blank slate heading into Porter’s sophomore campaign.
What TAI’s Adam Rubin wrote about Otto in October 2013:
The future of the franchise. Just kidding … sort of. If Otto Porter, Jr. is supposed to be Washington’s last high lottery pick of the John Wall era, he must eventually develop into a legitimate third member of a new Big 3 with Wall and Bradley Beal. Washington’s roster has a gaping hole in the front court that will eat up significant cap space next offseason and the team cannot afford to invest any more at the small forward position. To justify his draft position—and the guaranteed salary that comes with it—Porter must show that he is more than a complementary role player with a high basketball IQ.
Well, actually nothing happened. The story of Otto Porter’s rookie campaign ran ashore during the 2013 Summer League and never really escaped the shoals. To say that it got started on a worrying note would be the mildest of understatements. Porter played poorly in Las Vegas before straining his leg (a mild injury that would somehow stretch out into months)…
But the Wizards staff already had statements ready if that situation came to pass. To wit:
a) Otto Porter’s game was not designed for Summer League, therefore the team never expected him to “dominate” the proceedings;
b) Porter was being shuttled around positions (primary ball handler, shooting guard) and having him play out of position was a way to ascertain his value as a swiss army knife, his value at small forward was still indisputable and would be a boon to the team.
However, this flew contrary to two other things that happened in Summer League…
a) Jan Vesely, a player the Wizards staff had all but ostracized, did dominate Summer League and had a reputation (like Porter) as a player who was more valuable for the “little things” and not having outsized performances;
b) While Porter WAS playing out of position, all in attendance couldn’t help but notice that looked rather awkward running the floor and appeared to have no lift on his jump shot. In fact, Summer League retreads were blowing by Porter at Warp 5 while he stood there looking like the world’s saddest crossing guard.
So Porter limped out of Summer League and the season began with Porter on the shelf nursing his leg injury (the severity of which was kept under Kremlin-like secrecy). Trevor Ariza quickly reclaimed his spot in the starting lineup from Martell Webster as the starting small forward. Now here is where it got interesting: Webster, by any measurable statistical or eye test, had a down year for the Wizards. Unable to initiate any offense on the second unit and a porous defender at the best of times, Webster’s play slowly slid farther into the abyss, which would appear to be the perfect time for Porter to seize the moment and take what few minutes remained to Webster that Ariza had not gobbled up.
Except, Otto Porter remained stapled to the bench.
Which is incredibly confusing because … isn’t this what Otto Porter was drafted for in the first place? The entire point of engaging in the Otto Porter experience was to sign a player who—while without “unlimited” upside like Wizards draft picks past—was supposedly savvy and seasoned enough to NOT remain a besuited presence behind the bench. But the Wizards did everything possible to keep Porter off the court, keeping a less-than-100 percent Webster out on the floor and even playing the permanently-doghoused Chris Singleton rather than give Porter any chance to learn on the job. The very absence of Porter and his presence as a benign ghost left bloggers writing fictional game reports about him or dipping into poetry to explain how Porter had become the Wizards victory cigar … or white flag.
Well, this is where is gets very, very interesting. Martell Webster recently underwent back surgery and is now out for 4-to-5 months and goodness only knows what will happen if the crack Wizards medical staff gets their hands on him. Trevor Ariza is shopping himself all around the league, and it appears that he is either dead set on extracting every last penny from the Wizards, or simply wants to move to a warmer clime. If Ariza does move on to
a more verdant pasture, that leaves the Wizards (barring a FA signing) … with Otto Porter.
And that should be a concern to every person who follows the Wizards, because there is no tangible proof to what type of player he can be in the NBA. Kept on the bench due to the Wizards push to the playoffs (and Mssrs. Grunfeld and Wittman’s desire to keep their jobs), one is left with an enigma, on whose success the 2014-15 Wizards success may lie.
- Otto led the Wizards in bench minutes (26) on April 11 in a win over the Magic in Orlando. He scored nine points on 10 shots (four 2-point makes and 1 free throw), and grabbed nine rebounds, three offensive. He was on the court for a game-changing stretch and messed around and got his first NBA dunk.
- About a month earlier, on March 5 in D.C., Otto played 22 minutes off the bench in a runaway win over the Jazz—his second-most minutes on the season. And in those minutes he attempted one shot (missed it), zero free throws, found two defensive rebounds, came across two steals, dropped a turnover, and committed three fouls. Nothing else. And the one shot attempt got blocked by Jeremy Evans.
- Otto also travelled the first time he ever touched an NBA basketball in an official game.