Washington Wizards: Should Kelly Oubre Start Over Otto Porter?


Should the Washington Wizards Start Kelly Oubre Over Otto Porter?

Is 8.7 points and 6 rebounds per game underwhelming? No, in fact it’s all I need to see to convince me that Kelly Oubre Jr. should be in the starting lineup as the small forward over Otto Porter!

Are you insane? I mean seriously, are you trying to lose any credibility you probably never actually had but just pretended to? He’s started three games… just three!

Hey now! It’s the holiday season, let’s keep the conversation civil! How could I possibly suggest starting Kelly Oubre Jr. over Otto Porter based on such a small sample size and modest results?

Let’s start with an overall look at this year’s iteration of the Washington Wizards. THEY ARE NOT A GOOD DEFENSIVE TEAM.

[table id=19 /]

Wait, so you’re saying Kelly Oubre Jr., all 205 pounds of him, is going to draw that line in the sand and be the backbone to a defensive revival? 

A 20-year-old rookie who played one year of college basketball is going to be the stopper and bring back the identity of Randy Wittman’s Washington Wizards? By the way, nice job calling for an up tempo offense and benching Nene. That’s really helped things!


The Golden State Warriors — on top of being by far the best offensive team in the NBA — are also a top four team in terms of overall defensive efficiency. Pace and space doesn’t mean don’t get back on defense! There is a transition that will have to occur in terms of conditioning, getting accustomed to the system, and finding the right personnel.

Back to the point I was trying to make, though.

The team is struggling on defense and Kelly Oubre Jr. might be able to help get them back on track on that side of the ball. The incumbent starting small forward, Otto Porter whom many thought would be a defensive upgrade over Paul Pierce has frankly struggled.

The Wizards rank last in the NBA, allowing opponents to shoot 39.5% from the 3-point line. Otto Porter has been a big part of that problem allowing opponents to shoot 45.7% from the 3-point line versus him. By comparison Kelly Oubre Jr. is allowing opponents to shoot 36.4% from beyond the arc. In his last three games, all starts, that number drops to 35.7%.

Oh, by the way, are you really suggesting benching Nene has been the issue? When you find Nene, please let me know!

You just said there’s a transition needed to get accustomed to this new system, but then you’re arguing to make a change to the starting lineup? That’s not really what I would call consistency. 

Also by that same metric, Otto Porter only allowed opponents to shoot 30.7% from the 3-point line last season.  This could very well be an aberration with normalization on the horizon.

I won’t argue that.

More from Wizards News

Otto Porter should be able to improve on the defensive side of the ball, but that leads me to the second part of my argument; shooting.

Porter is shooting 27.4% from the 3-point line.

His offensive production is basically coming off of moving without the ball but if he can’t hit the open three, teams will continue to pack it in versus John Wall and Marcin Gortat.

Teams are daring Otto to beat them from outside and he just isn’t.

When they are able to close out, Otto struggles getting to the basket and finishing through contact.

After scoring a career high 28 points versus the Dallas Mavericks less than two weeks ago, Otto followed it up by shooting a combined 2-14 and scoring a total of four points over his next two starts. That isn’t enough!

Otto Porter shot 37.5% from the 3-point line in the playoffs last year. The slow start could just be a road bump.

I believe it might be, but what evidence do we have to support that? We are into year three of Otto Porter’s NBA career and he’s a career 29.7% from beyond the arc. You cannot have pace and space with that type of shooting from your 3-and-D small forward.

In fact, they’re not getting much 3 or D from Otto, so why is starting Kelly Oubre Jr. that insane of a notion? By comparison, Kelly Oubre Jr. is shooting 41.6% from the 3-point line and is 6-6 from that distance in his three starts

One, 6-6 doesn’t even qualify as a sample size. Two, Kelly Oubre Jr. is a rookie with a lot of potential but he’s raw and throwing him out to the wolves now doesn’t seem prudent. I also go back again to last year’s playoffs. Otto Porter‘s play off the bench was a revelation and he was a consistent contributor versus Toronto and Atlanta. 

I’m glad you went back to the playoffs because that is the next part of my argument.

(Of course it is)

More from Wizards News

Otto Porter proved last year that he’s capable of playing well off the bench.

In 33 minutes off the bench last postseason, Otto averaged 10 points and 8 rebounds per game and as previously mentioned shot 37.5% from the 3-point land.

Just because he doesn’t start doesn’t mean I want to banish him to DeJuan Blair DNP-CD territory.

He’s proven to be a rotational player and needs to be on the court.

In fact, off the bench he would still likely play more minutes than Kelly Oubre Jr. if the change I’m proposing were made.

In terms of fit, Otto Porter may be a better fit on the second unit where Ramon Sessions and Gary Neal have been very aggressive offensively and there won’t be a reliance on Otto to open the floor, whereas Otto’s shooting struggles are impacting the space that John Wall and Marcin Gortat have to operate in with the starters.

You’re the same person who argued with me two years ago that I threw in the towel on Otto Porter too soon off his rookie season, right? You’re also the guy who tweets Ottooo with fire emoji’s every time he makes a three, right? 

I just want to make sure I’m talking to the same person because all I seem to read are negative pixels about needing more from John Wall, the fans having every right to be disenchanted, and how this season’s Washington Wizards are lottery bound

First of all, thanks for plugging my recent work;).  Secondly, I take full credit for John Wall’s December turnaround! Lastly, this isn’t a negative pixel. It’s a positive in my opinion that a drafted rookie is flashing as well as Kelly Oubre Jr. has in limited minutes given this was probably intended as a red shirt season for him.

For a team that really has lacked youth outside of John Wall (who’s really a veteran now), Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre Jr. brings a jolt of youth and some much needed athleticism to the roster.

OKAY! I’ve had enough of this.  If you’re making this argument for Kelly Oubre Jr., I’m surprised you haven’t done the same for Garrett Temple.


Next: Garrett Temple Has Become Invaluable For Washington

What have I done? 

Happy Holidays everyone!