After missing the majority of Summer League, all of training camp and preseason due to injury, Otto Porter‘s NBA career was already off to a rough start. Porter’s rookie season hasn’t been ideal, as injuries and the emergence of Trevor Ariza has relegated him to the end of the bench, which is something that no one really expected for the former third overall pick. As someone who was deemed the “most NBA ready prospect” coming out of Georgetown, Otto Porter Jr. has struggled to adjust to the NBA game and has rarely seen playing time as a result.
Porter hasn’t gotten much of a chance to prove himself, but he has seen some sporadic minutes on the court as of late. After securing a blowout victory against the Boston Celtics, clinching a postseason spot for the first time since 2008, Randy Wittman let his bench players get some run late in the game, including Otto Porter.
As someone who’s been dying to watch Porter play this entire season, even small amounts of playing time for him get me excited, especially after the tremendously tough start to his rookie year. Porter checked into the game against Boston, immediately knocking down an open 3-point shot from the corner, which a shot I think we’ll see him take more often given Washington’s style of play. He followed that shot up with an and-1 basket and an offensive tip in after Kevin Seraphin missed a sweeping hook shot. He finished that night with 9 points in 6 minutes.
Nine points in six minutes may not seem like a big deal, and it probably isn’t, but for someone who’s gone from being the top-dog in NCAA basketball to completely forgotten after getting picked third overall this past summer, I’m sure Porter enjoyed that small spurt of success against the Celtics. He hasn’t looked this comfortable playing basketball since he suited up for Georgetown and even though he hasn’t gotten the playing time I’m sure he desires, his confidence seems to have increased from the beginning of the season. Guys like Marcin Gortat, who have witnessed Porter’s struggles first hand, have stuck with him through the tough times, instilling the confidence he needs to get through the turbulent season. Gortat has been high on Porter and made sure to give him credit after the Celtics game, saying, “This kid, he’s going to be huge. He’s going to be huge for our team in the future.” Porter followed that game up by scoring 5 points in 7 minutes in a blowout loss against the Chicago Bulls on Saturday.
“I was just trying to come in and continue to play,” Porter said. “Coach said, ‘This is an opportunity for you and make the most of it.’ And I did.”
Porter’s teammates and coaching staff have all been very supportive of him through this tough season and they all seem to agree that he has the potential to be a very nice addition to this Wizards roster. Make no mistake, Otto Porter can play basketball and he certainly fits in with Washington’s core group of players. He’s shown flashes of his ability to shoot the ball and create offensive for himself, but his length and willingness to play defense will definitely play a big part in Washington’s future, especially with some uncertainly looming about Trevor Ariza’s future in the nation’s capital.
The regular season is coming to an end very soon and I certainly don’t expect Porter to get substantial minutes in the postseason, but I’m definitely glad he’s begun showing flashes of what he’ll become in the future.