Now that Trevor Ariza has decided to leave the Washington Wizards for the Houston Rockets, there’s no better time for Otto Porter to step up and show why he was selected third overall in last year’s draft.
So, he did.
Otto Porter struggled in last year’s NBA Summer League, but that wasn’t the case today against the Atlanta Hawks. Porter knocked down a mid-range jump shot right out of the gate, followed by two beautiful assists to Khem Birch, who also looked good in his debut with the Wizards. Porter looked a lot more confident with the ball in his hands than I’ve ever seen him before, as he came off screens and took jump shots off the dribble.
When Maalik Wayns or Glen Rice Jr. were handling the ball, Otto Porter continued to move off the ball and benefited from it. He found open shots and continued to knock them down. Once the defense started to close out, Otto Porter displayed some of his ability to attack the basket. Perhaps the most impressive play from Porter was an open three point shot from the corner which turned into a four point play. Washington creates the most three point attempts from the corner in the NBA, so it was nice to see Otto Porter hit the shot with confidence.
Otto Porter scored 25 points on 11 for 16 shooting to go along side 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Virtually every shot he took came within the flow of the offense and he didn’t force up any unnecessary shots.
Glen Rice Jr. was also impressive, scoring 22 points on 4-10 shooting. Instead of settling for outside shots like we’ve seen occasionally from Rice, he attacked the basket every chance he got and got to the free throw line 16 times in the game. Washington could use his scoring and it wouldn’t be surprising if he cracks the rotation next season.
Besides Otto Porter and Glen Rice Jr., Khem Birch and Daniel Orton were also impressive for the Wizards. Birch looked very solid offensively after being billed as just a defensive player out of college, as he connected with Otto Porter on multiple baskets early on. He made 4 of his 5 shot attempts, one of which came in the form of a thunderous dunk. He also blocked 2 shots.
Orton chipped in with 8 rebounds while providing some stability on the defensive side of the floor.
To sum it all up, it was great to see Otto Porter and Glen Rice Jr. have dominant performances. Both players are expected to play bigger roles next season, so they certainly needed to get off on a good start.
Washington’s next game is July 13th against the Minnesota Timberwolves.