Washington Wizards 2007 vs. 2015: Caron Butler vs. Otto Porter


We’ve all heard of the conversations comparing the old Gilbert Arenas led Washington Wizards teams to the most recent John Wall led squads.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be writing about the 2006-2007 Wizards team (41-41 record) and how they match up against the 2014-2015 Wizards team (46-36 record).

Part one: Comparing Beal and Stevenson

Part two: Comparing Nene and Jamison

Next up, the small forwards…

Caron Butler, 2007 season averages: 19.1 PTS, 7.4 TRB, 3.7 AST, .46 FG%, .25 3P%, 39.3 minutes

Otto Porter, 2015 season averages: 6.0 PTS, 3.0 TRB, .9 AST, .45 FG%, .34 3P%, 19.4 minutes

Is it possible we’ve forgotten how good Caron Butler actually was because of how Gilbert Arenas‘ on-court and off-court persona dominated that era?

Butler was a force, an All-star. From 2006-2008, Tough Juice was a baller. If we could put in a time machine and transport to the here and now, I’d start the “We Want Cleveland” chant on opening night in the Verizon Center.

In today’s NBA, he’s unquestionably a max player.

Now, take a look at Porter’s stats that are listed above.

What we’re even discussing here?

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I should say this analysis is over, but then the playoffs happened (and 200 words aren’t enough).

In the playoffs Otto was simply another player.

He averaged 10 points, 8 rebounds and shot nearly 38 percent from beyond the three point arc.

There still isn’t much of a comparison here, but playing a bench role, Porter finally began to show signs of the player most of us expected when he was drafted third overall.

Porter finally flashed, playing the 3&D role the Washington Wizards had lacked since Trevor Ariza left for Houston last summer.

The comparison between Caron Butler and Otto Porter is a difficult but interesting one.

Butler was asked to be a playmaker; someone who created offense for himself and others, while also playing solid defense. Porter has never been asked to create offense for himself.

Is he capable of doing so? It might be possible, but there’s no way to give him credit for it at this point.

You really have to view him as a player who will play defense, shoot open 3’s, move without the ball, and run the floor with John Wall. Randy Wittman will never call a play for Otto Porter in the current construction and design of this offense.

In Summer League ’14, plays were called where the Washington Wizards ran curls for Otto off screens for mid-range jumpers, but that didn’t translate to the regular season so I can’t assume that will occur.

That being said he’s a great fit for what the Wizards want from him given the ball handling/offensive responsibilities of their backcourt.

The 2006 – 2007 Washington Wizards were structured differently with their 3&D player sharing the backcourt with Gilbert Arenas (DeShawn Stevenson). Caron Butler was the second option on offense.

He was someone who could carry the offensive load and take pressure off of Arenas. His game winners may not be as memorable as Gilbert’s, but don’t discount his ability to be a closer.

– Caron sinks the Cavaliers

Caron drops buckets in the fourth, including a GW against Indiana

So, how would the matchup play out over a seven game series? Let’s start with each player’s advantages in this particular matchup.


– Caron Butler

Ability to score: Caron is a natural scorer who will score regardless of the matchup over a seven game series

Physicality: At nearly 230 pounds, Caron should wear down Otto in the paint. There’s a reason his nickname was Tough Juice

Disruptive defense: The ability to play off Otto Porter defensively should get him in the passing lanes where he can be disruptive

Rebounding: See Physicality

Limiting Porter’s defense: The Princeton offense/shooters will open the floor, limiting the help defense Otto will get. This will create more opportunities for Caron to score. If/when the help comes if Caron is wearing Otto down, Caron’s passing ability will show

– Otto Porter

Length: Caron will produce, but Otto’s length may hinder his efficiency and affect his jump shot which didn’t have the most arc

Knocking down the open shot: Caron won’t be on Otto’s hip, so if he could knock down open 3-point looks off of Wall’s penetration (which he’ll do at will versus Gilbert’s D) he could have an impact

Running the floor: Caron is more physical than fast and Otto might be able to beat him down the floor on the fast break

Moving without the ball: While Caron is helping on defense, Otto will have the opportunity to sneak in and find the ball or get open near the basket before Caron can put his extra 30 pounds on him

So what will this translate too on the court?

I decided to take a look back at a matchup which I thought might give me some insight into how this matchup between Caron and Otto would play out.

I looked at seven games between Caron Butler and Tayshaun Prince between 2006-2008. Why Tayshaun? Well that was the most often referred to comparable for Otto Porter as he was entering the NBA.

Here are the averages for each over those seven games:

[table id=13 /]

Two outliers really affected Caron’s numbers; two games where he shot a combined 2 for 16 from the field.  If you take those two out of the equation, Butler averaged 20/6/4 on 56% shooting from the field.

Prince, on the other hand, was more consistent.

Overall, the matchup played out pretty evenly. Butler had the statistical advantage, but Prince wasn’t a primary scorer on those guard led Piston teams. That being said, in five of the seven games Caron played like an All-star.

Given his role, Otto’s offensive number shouldn’t fluctuate greatly and it’s possible that his length can get to Caron at some point in a series, but Caron will still find a way to play an at All-star level more often than not.

It’s also worth noting that Tayshaun Prince was well into his career at the time of these matchups with Caron Butler and much of what we expect out of Otto is based on a solid 10 game playoff showing.

With all of those things considered, the advantage would go towards the ’07 Washington Wizards.

Next: Wizards Coaches: The Definitive Ranking

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