The start of Otto Porter Jr’s NBA career wasn’t ideal, as the third overall pick out of Georgetown was sidelined with injuries for the majority of Summer League, training camp, and all of preseason. Without any practice with the Wizards, Porter missed some valuable developmental time due to a hip injury that kept him out much longer than expected. After finally making his debut on December 6th against the Milwaukee Bucks, Porter was forced to learn on the fly. He had never played a single second of NBA basketball and it was evident in his dismal start.
Porter played several games until finally scoring his first NBA basket, but his confidence wasn’t even close to as it was before getting hurt in the offseason. He remained hesitant, passing up every shot opportunity he got throughout the game. It took Porter a handful of games before finally looking like he belonged on the court, and now that he’s finally practiced and played with the Wizards, he’s starting to adjust to the NBA game which is very different than the college game Porter’s become accustomed to. Porter only has six NBA games under his belt, but he’s finally becoming comfortable with Randy Wittman’s system.
Wittman on Porter’s adjustment: I’ve seen improvement. I’ve seen confidence level. I’ve seen him being more active. With our situation also with minute limitations for (Bradley Beal and Nene), I’ve got to continue to try to get those other guys rest, too. That lends something to it,” Wittman said. “The last couple of games, that’s as active as he has been. I can see in his face that he’s getting comfortable going out and playing and knowing what he has to do. Hopefully, that will keep going.
The 2013 NBA Draft class hasn’t been very good thus far, ranging from disappoints such as the first overall pick Anthony Bennett to breakout stars like Michael Carter-Williams. Even though NBA pundits didn’t think there were many impact players in that particular draft, it’s shocking to see how little the top picks have contributed to their respective teams. Labeling players as “busts” this soon into their NBA career is simply wrong, but I do see the cause for concern for certain players like Bennett.
It’s fair to assume that top-5 draft picks will contribute immediately, but we have to be patient with players like Otto Porter. Hip injuries are obviously tough to recover from, and without any time to learn the NBA game, Porter has struggled and will likely continue to struggle for a few more months. Bradley Beal went through a similar stretch at the beginning of his rookie season, but his struggles were quickly forgotten once he picked up his play.
Porter is becoming comfortable with the team, but it will take some time for him to adjust to the game. He has the tools to fit right in with Washington’s core pieces, and he has shown flashes of why the Wizards took him third overall. I realize that people want to see immediate results when judging prospects, but I don’t think it’s unfair to give Porter some time to get comfortable.
Washington has five days off before playing the Timberwolves in Minnesota on Friday, so hopefully Porter will take that time off to continue growing with the team. He’s gotten more minutes as of late and I think we might see that increase throughout the course of the season.