It's been a while since we've heard from Otto Porter, who's been hampered by hamstring and hip injuries since the draft back in June. However, he was active for the first time Friday night against the Milwaukee Bucks after missing summer league and all of the preseason.
Friday's game and 14 minutes didn't show much of Porter, except for the the expected rust.
That wasn't surprising. The last relevant game Porter played was back in the NCAA tournament, when Florida Gulf Coast ended his college career a few games earlier than expected.
But what Porter had done up to that point was already top-three overall worthy. The 2013 Big East Player of the Year, Porter was sensational as a sophomore at Georgetown, when he averaged 16.2 points, 7.5 boards and 2.7 assists on 48 percent shooting and 42 percent from downtown.
Porter earned the reputation as a safe pick on draft night, given he didn't really raise any questions.
At 6'8" with a 7'1.5" wingspan and a terrific basketball frame, Porter has the measurements to go with the athleticism. He can shoot, pass, handle it and defend, and he came without any character flaws or red flags.
But what's kept Porter from reaching can't-miss status has been his lack of upside. He just doesn't have any standout qualities or specialities. Porter is a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none type of contributor.
While his upside might be limited, Porter's skill set and intangibles could both be used in Washington's lineup. Don't expect him to challenge Victor Oladipo or Michael Carter-Williams for Rookie of the Year, but I'd be shocked if he's not an impact player by the second half of the season.
Porter will provide the Wizards with a capable and trustworthy shooter from every spot on the floor. He does most of his perimeter damage spotting up, which should give John Wall an additional target in the drive-and-dish game.
But he's not just limited to spot-up shooting around the arc. Porter can knock down over-the-shoulder shots at the elbow, fadeaways by the baseline or one-dribble pull-ups if there's room to release.
His ability to make shots from different angles and spots on the floor essentially puts him in scoring position whenever he has room to catch and release.
You wouldn't refer to Porter as a sniper, but there's no doubt he's a threat anywhere from 10-to-25 feet away.
Don't expect Porter to create many shots—just count on him to make them.
Slashing, Attacking, Off-Ball Scoring
Porter isn't known for his one-on-one game. He works best from the wing using angles, where he can cut through the lane and slash through traffic.
On the surface, Porter seems like an excellent fit alongside a ball-dominant backcourt. He's a guy who's able to score without using the dribble, something the Wizards could use to complement their guard-heavy attack.
When he has room to take it to the rack, whether it's in the open floor or the half court, he's a guy who can put it on the deck and finish on the move.
Though he's mostly an under-the-rim athlete, Porter shows tremendous body control when driving to the rim. He's able to bounce between defenders and hit off-balance or contested shots.
It might take some time for Porter to discover the easiest new routes to the hoop, but attacking, slashing and scoring without the ball play to his value as a complementary weapon.
A high-IQ, mistake-free type of player, even an off day for Porter is unlikely to negatively impact the team. He doesn't take bad shots, he competes on the defensive end and finishes the plays he's supposed to finish.
Even if he's not putting up points, Porter's motor and energy should both be welcome in Washington's frontcourt.
The ball doesn't stick to Porter's hands either. He's an excellent passer, both in terms of setting up teammates for buckets and recognizing the clever pass versus the simple one.
Once he adjusts to the speed and spacing of the game, he should be able to fit right in with this current group.
He's been out for a while, so it's unlikely to immediately click. But the Wizards will be adding a potential long-term piece in Porter once he eventually settles in. Every team needs valuable role players, and Porter has the makeup and skill set to pose as one for the Wizards.
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