Fact Check: Otto Porter at Stretch 4 (or Low-Power Forward) | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Fact Check: Otto Porter at Stretch 4 (or Low-Power Forward)

Updated: October 13, 2016


I mean, jeez, how much do we really want to stretch Otto “Slenderman” Porter? Isn’t he already gangly enough?

OHHHH… stretch “four”—when some basketball media savants are only comfortable with using a numeral to denote a position, ‘cause Otto does not put the power in “Power Forward,” that’s for sure. And it’s OK!

Now Scott Brooks has paid the ‘Stretch 4 Otto’ movement some lip service. And before anyone does anymore tap dancing on Randy Wittman’s grave—per CSN Mid-Atlantic, the Wizards “played Otto Porter at power forward out of necessity and it produced good results”—let’s also take a look at some numbers (1).

First, yes, some necessity was involved—19 different players suited up for Washington last year! (2) But stretch Otto is hardly a Brooksian revelation.

According to the imperfect data of 82games.com, total minutes at “PF” for the Wizards last season were distributed as follows:

  1. Otto Porter – 32%
  2. Jared Dudley – 19%
  3. Markieff Morris – 17%
  4. Kelly Oubre – 10%
  5. Kris Humphries – 8%
  6. Drew Gooden – 5%
  7. Nene – 2%
  8. Bradley Beal – 1%
  9. Garrett Temple – <1%
  10. Jarell Eddie – <1%
  11. J.J. Hickson – <1%
  12. DeJuan Blair – <1%
  13. Marcus Thornton – <1%

No time at PF: John Wall, Alan Anderson, Ryan Hollins, Ramon Sessions, Gary Neal, and Marcin Gortat.

So you see, Otto P. actually consumed the most minutes, by necessity or not, at 4 for Washington last season. (There were also trades and stuff which affected this in addition to injury.) And the results were indeed good, a net plus-2.3 points per 48 minutes.

Only Morris was better (+3.8). The rest of them schlubs went like this: Dudley (+0.7), Oubre (-1.9), Nene (-5.6), Humphries (-8.6), Gooden (-14.4), and the others aren’t worth noting.

‘As TAI reported…’ in the opening statements before the Knicks game, Otto P. was really only used at the “4” (next to Oubre) for two minutes and five seconds versus Philadelphia (and not at all versus Miami). Of course, I’m not sure who you are calling the “4” in this arrangement, Porter or Oubre.

So let’s take a look at the lineups, in succession, that Brooks used versus the Knicks on Monday (Porter is bolded for dramatic effect; plus-minus and court time included):

  • 7:20, -10: Wall, Beal, Porter, Smith, Gortat
  • 0:10, 0: Wall, Beal, Porter, Smith, Mahinmi
  • 0:55, +4: Wall, Eddie, Porter, Smith, Mahinmi
  • 1:05, +4: Saty, Eddie, Oubre, Smith, Mahinmi
  • 4:41, -2: Saty, Eddie, Oubre, O’Bryant, Mahinmi
  • 1:12, -2: Saty, Beal, Oubre, O’Bryant, Mahinmi
  • 0:21, 0: Wall, Beal, Oubre, O’Bryant, Mahinmi
  • 1:49, +4: Wall, Beal, Oubre, O’Bryant, Gortat
  • 3:30, +6: Wall, Beal, Porter, O’Bryant, Gortat
  • 1:32, +6: Wall, Beal, Porter, Smith, Gortat
  • 1:22, -1: Saty, Beal, Porter, Smith, Gortat
  • 0:03, -2: Saty, Beal, Porter, O’Bryant, Gortat
  • 5:43, -5: Saty, Beal, Porter, Smith, Mahinmi
  • 3:41, -3: Saty, Beal, Porter, Nicholson, Smith
  • 2:36, -4: Ware, Oubre, Porter, O’Bryant, Nicholson
  • 12:00, +3: Ware, Oubre, House, O’Bryant, Nicholson

Not once was Porter used at the 4, leaving us at the same 2:05 over 106 preseason minutes to date (3). Now, as coaches will always remind you, some of this is predicated on matchups. The Knicks used to try to peg Carmelo Anthony as a “stretch-4” but with Kristaps Porzingis, a 7-foot-3 stretch-4, Carmelo has moved back to 3, and with Porter the more primed, if you will (not using “capable”), Wizard to guard Anthony, he’ll see more time at 3 versus a team like the Knicks. And, as I wrote in this bulleted run-down, Porter at least looks more capable, strength-wise, to make things tougher on Melo—even if Anthony is still probably the best, most diverse scorer in today’s NBA (4).

More Porter at the 4?

Sure. There’s lots of season to go (it hasn’t even started), but the fact-checking so far doesn’t necessarily indicate that things will be any different than last year, particularly since the Wizards are thin at backcourt and wing depth while heavy up front. Somebody—one of this summer’s moneyed free agents—will have to sit or get injured for Porter’s minutes at 4 to increase significantly (Noted: Markieff Morris will likely sit out his second straight preseason game this evening with a sore left foot.) And if Porter doesn’t get any minutes at the 4 when Morris doesn’t play, perhaps such an arrangement isn’t a priority for Brooks.

The final and ultimate consideration, currently, is this is all under the thumbprint of a new coach. So if Brooks says, about Porter, “he’s going to have to learn how to play some four and using his length and his quickness guarding bigger fours,” then it at least conveys a willingness that things, and usage, might change.

Now go off into the fleeting daylight, young friends.

  1. CSN also calls the position, “’Stretch’ Power Forward.”
  2. Which, if we are counting, the number of “Wizards used” in each of John Wall’s seasons: 2010-11: 23, 2011-12: 21, 2012-13: 19, 2013-14: 17, 2014-15: 18, and then 19 last year. Super. Now let’s not digress.
  3. Also note that Oubre was, in essence, the “2” over the last 14-plus minutes versus the Knicks.
  4. But Carmelo is only the 15th best player in the NBA, according to Slam Magazine.
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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.