Fantasy Basketball: Is Otto Porter the Real Deal?
As a former third overall pick, the rise toward being a productive NBA player has been a very slow one for Otto Porter of the Washington Wizards. However, with recent rumors suggesting he might receive a maximum contract extension this upcoming summer, those who haven't been watching his progression closely may be a little confused.
Otto Porter, a max player? Is he even good? Let's take a look.
In what's shown itself to be one of the weakest top-end drafts in NBA history, the Wizards took Porter with the third overall selection in 2013, missing out on players like Nerlens Noel (6th), C.J. McCollum (10th), future Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams (11th), Giannis Antetokounmpo (15th) and Rudy Gobert (27th).
Under Coach Randy Wittman, Porter barely played as a rookie and frequently looked lost when he did. His career began inauspiciously, injuring a hip flexor during training camp which forced him to miss the first three months, and upon his return, he averaged 8.6 minutes and appeared in only 37 games.
He took on a more regular role towards the back of the rotation the following season, playing 19.4 minutes per game over 74 contests. The production was still minimal, as he managed to score just 6.0 points per game while shooting 45% from the floor, including 33% from beyond the arc. His peripheral stats (0.6 steals, 0.4 blocks) were nothing to write home about, and while he played decent defense, his offense was so atrocious that he rated as a net negative per box plus-minus (-0.4).
Despite playing in just 111 games as a professional entering the 2015-16 as a 22-year-old, he came to life after the team spent their lottery pick that previous summer on a similar kind of player in Kelly Oubre.
It happened gradually, and there were ups and downs along the way -- but just look at the jump from his second year to his third year.
Porter had finally solidified himself as a regular contributor, appearing in 75 games and starting 73 of them while averaging 11.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per night. His 105 defensive rating ranked second on Washington behind John Wall.
Tangible improvement was upon us, which was a reason to be cautiously optimistic.
Turning Into an All-Star
A lot of 2015-16's success was written off as a role change, citing the fact that he produced more simply because he played more. He was an asset, but certainly still a mild disappointment for being a former third overall pick, right?
However, that upward trajectory has continued in such grand fashion that he's looked like a burgeoning All-Star.
He ranks 13th in the entire NBA in field goal percentage (53.8%) and is shooting a career-high 43% from three-point land, improving his distance shooting for the fourth straight season. He rates 16th in steals per game and rates as an above-average perimeter defender with a defensive box plus-minus of 1.0.
What's been most impressive about Porter is his efficiency. He currently sits fifth in effective field goal percentage at 62.0%, and the top-10 includes seven centers, with Patty Mills and Nick Young the only other perimeter players.
He's also eighth in true shooting percentage (63.7%), and all these numbers, coupled with a minimal usage rate (15.3%), means Washington is receiving maximum production from a player who doesn't waste possessions.
Can He Keep This Up?
Porter is the kind of player that's going to flourish when given an elite creator to play with. He's had 79.1% of his baskets assisted this season, including 98.3% of his three-pointers. He scores 55.4% of his points inside the three-point line, but only 19.4% of those come from the mid-range. It's like he was made in a Morey-ball laboratory.
He's shown improvement every year he's been in the NBA. While it's not there yet, he might develop more of an off-the-dribble game as his career continues -- remember, he's just 23 years old. For now, he needs to be given the ball in places where he can succeed and have his shots created for him.
It will be interesting to see what Washington decides to do this summer, because if they max out Porter, John Wall will be the third-highest paid player on the team, and apparently being second-highest already doesn't sit well with him.
How would the Wizards look with Porter and Bradley Beal maxed out, if Wall decides he wants to leave town? Even with the three of them together, our numbers give the Wizards just a 43.4% chance of making the playoffs, projecting them for 39.3 wins. That's not Porter's fault, though, and it'll at least help out our fantasy basketball squads as a nice value option.