“I’ve always wanted to be an All-Star type player. I feel like I don’t have a ceiling. I can only get better from here on in.” Otto Porter
The most surprising thing about the Washington Wizards 2016-17 season was not John Wall. It was not Wall’s comeback from knee surgery and his emergence as someone who can actually make shots (Wall shot 45.1% and 32.7% on three). It was not Bradley Beal and his ginormous contract and making non-believers finally accept he is not overrated. (Beal shot 48.2% and 40.4% from three). The Wizards best eye-catching thing, though incredibly unexpected, was Otto Porter Jr. Really. I. Am. Not. Kidding. Finally, the Wizards had a reliable third option. Perhaps not a Big Three but three offensive players they can count on.
What if I told you Otto Porter made 51.6% of his shots (a career high), 57.6% of his two point shots (a career high), 43.4% of this threes (a career high), 83.2% of his free throws (a career high), 1.5 offensive rebounds (a career high), 5.0 defensive rebounds ( a career high), 13.4 points per game, a career high.
Otto Porter’s offensive rating was 129. LeBron James offensive rating was 119. Kevin Durant’s offensive rating was 125.
Otto Porter’s defensive rating was 108. His best year as a defender came in his second year in the league. His PER in 2016-17 was 17.3, nearly three points higher than the previous season and his True Shooting Percentage was 62.8%.
Putting the ball in the hole is what Otto Porter did last year. Consistency is what he wasn’t the past few seasons.
The 24 year old was a 70.9% shot maker at the rim in his contract year. The switches came too late. Porter read the defense and finished before the opponent could put a body on him and hack him. Porter made 51.3% of his 3-10 foot shots, 50.0% of his 10-16 foot shots and 50.7% of long twos. He mastered the three as well.
“He gives you a lot of winning basketball plays. You can look at his field goal percentage, you can look at all the things that he does in his midrange game, his 3-point shots have developed, his offensive rebounds.” (Scott Brooks)
Otto Porter’s improvement has shaped his game, making him a reliable wing option and there is an argument to be made that on this Wizards team with Wall and Beal, he doesn’t exactly fit. But you know who needed a small forward like Otto Porter?
Everyone but the Warriors, Cavs, Spurs and Thunder.
“There’s not that many transformative free agents out there and a lot of teams are paying a lot of money on free agents and they’re not quite sure how it’s going to work. I felt keeping Otto, maxing Otto, was way lower risk than saying ‘Let’s let him go and we’ll get someone in free agency’.” (Ted Leonsis)
A productive small forward is a gift in this league. But you have to gamble and decide if what you have right now is better than what you can get in the future.
But the numbers remain unemotional.
Otto Porter made 47.0% of his catch and shoot jumpers, 43.1% of his pull ups. In the paint, 76.4% of hit shots went in. Porter touched the ball 42.4 times per game and he dribbled it less than a second, so he’s a pure catch and shoot player who is a perfect compliment for John Wall. For Porter to be a legitimate third option he needs the ball more, there needs to be an Otto Porter offense, particularly when they are paying him like he is an All-Star. Don’t blame Porter though. He did what all players do in their contract year per their agent(s) instructions. He made the Wizards blink. Ted Leonsis has three max players; he is forced to pay the luxury tax but then again there is another way of looking at it. Ted Leonsis drafted well. His picks developed into special players.
But with the money Otto Porter is banking there is responsibility. If last year he had nothing to lose, this year is the opposite. He has ratcheted up expectations. He can’t continue to perform while around him the team sputters and dies in crucial moments. He will be judged on the Wizards wins or losses. He is not their best player. Nevertheless, Otto Porter is being judged on Otto Porter, max player, $100 million man.
So Otto Porter, be careful what you ask for. In other words: you better be an All-Star.
“It’s definitely a humbling experience.” (Otto Porter on contract).