With Nene, Kevin Seraphin, and Martell Webster out against the Memphis Grizzlies last night, the Washington Wizards had no choice but to play seldom used former third overall pick, Otto Porter.
Porter has dealt with injuries throughout his entire rookie season, and playing behind two capable small forwards certainly hasn’t helped either. Everything that could’ve went wrong for Otto Porter in his first season, went wrong. But that still doesn’t mean he won’t have time to contribute this season, that is, if he gets the chance.
Randy Wittman, who doesn’t really have the best track record when it comes to being patient with rookies, or any player for that matter, finally gave Otto Porter a chance to play last night. Wittman seemed reluctant to play Porter at the beginning of the season since he missed summer league and preseason, and to be quite honest, Porter didn’t look ready to play. Luckily for Wittman, that wasn’t the case last night. Porter finished the game with 6 points in 10 minutes, knocking down two clutch three point shots to help cut Washington’s deficit in the fourth quarter.
For a 20-year old rookie who hasn’t played much this season, Porter played with confidence and actually looked like he belonged on the floor. He’s shown flashes of why the Wizards took him third overall, displaying the basketball I.Q. and movement without the ball we rarely see in prospects.
Porter hasn’t gotten much of an opportunity to showcase himself this season, but I think that will change, and it probably started with last night’s performance. Chris Singleton has gotten some playing time at small forward, but his inability to shoot from the perimeter really hurt Washington last night. Singleton has also shown some selfishness on the court, often times taking ill advised shots early in the shot clock. Singleton is in his final season with the Wizards, and after declining his team option for next season, he probably won’t be back next year. Playing Otto Porter instead of Chris Singleton for 10 minutes each game won’t hurt the team, believe it or not.
With that said, it’s time for Otto Porter to get a chance to play. He’s stayed poised and ready despite missing a large chunk of developmental time earlier in the season.
I just try to stay ready anytime. … Games like this when we’re down he looked for me to be more aggressive. He told me, ‘Hey, we need to try to make a run and come back,'” Porter said of Wittman. “We needed something. We were on a run. … I just wanted to come in and play my hardest and try to help us come back.
Otto Porter has shown enough versatility on both sides of the floor and I don’t see the downside of actually giving him a chance to prove himself. Even though his rookie season has been plagued with injuries and we really haven’t gotten a chance to see what player he could become, playing him in spurts really won’t hurt the team. Besides, playing Chris Singleton instead of Otto Porter just simply won’t help the team win the game any more than it would if Porter was glued to the bench.
Martell Webster and Kevin Seraphin are both likely going to sit out tomorrow night against the Utah Jazz, and we’ll probably see more of Otto Porter. Is he ready to contribute? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.