Otto Porter Is Turning Quiet Stat Lines Into Critical Production for the Washington Wizards

Porter may not be as well-known as a couple of his teammates, but he is a crucial piece to Washington's success.

Prior to last July, when the Washington Wizards pulled the trigger on making Otto Porter the team’s highest-paid player, the debate surrounding whether or not the 2013 third-overall pick was a max player remained a complicated one.

A quick eyeball of the basketball discussion interwebs provided a wide variety of opinions, ranging from arguments in favor of Porter’s glue-guy style as a reason for shelling out top dollar, to the dispute that his seemingly modest stat lines could easily be replaced.

Then, mixed somewhere in the middle of either extreme, there was the conversation relating to the front office needing to spend the money somewhere, so why not on Porter? Given the team’s past offseason endeavors and lack of results, paying market value for Porter’s services -- modest, simple, or otherwise -- seemed like the most logical choice.

Fast forward to now.

En route to their somewhat lofty yet legitimate aspirations of an Eastern Conference title, the Wizards will depend not only on their exciting and energetic back court duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal, but also the often unassuming Porter.

As if a disciplined brand of basketball has been the fortunate byproduct of his alleged quiet production, Porter has improved his game in each of his five NBA seasons on his way to becoming one of the more efficient players in the league.

Season MIN FG% 3PT% Usage Rate Win Shares
2013-14 8.6 36.3% 19.0% 15.6% 0.0
2014-15 19.4 45.0% 33.7% 15.1% 2.7
2015-16 30.3 47.3% 36.7% 16.2% 5.6
2016-17 32.6 51.6% 43.4% 15.1% 9.4
2017-18 33.3 55.7% 51.7% 18.5% 1.2

His net rating of 14.8 ranks 10th among players averaging at least 30 minutes a game this season, and he’s sporting a true shooting percentage that puts him alongside scorers like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson -- none of whom are shooting better than Porter from long range (51.7%).

“I never look at Otto and judge him by the stat sheet,” Washington coach Scott Brooks said back in July, after the team inked Porter to his $106 million deal. “There’s so many little things that stats don’t show.”

Yet through just a handful of games this season, that subtle off-the-sheet production is already on noticeable display.

In his 200 minutes of action this season, Porter has 16 steals to just 3 turnovers; and of those logging at least 30 minutes a night, the top three assist-to-turnover ratios this season read -- All-Star veteran point guard Chris Paul, All-Star veteran point guard Kyle Lowry, and 24-year-old Otto Porter.

Sure, maybe he’s not described as flashy, but this sort of thing against the Golden State Warriors last week would seem to go against that grain.

Which then led to even more fun stuff, including a brief back and forth of three-point chucks between Porter and Durant late in the game, as well as entertaining stat graphics comparing the two.

There’s obvious hesitation to falling victim to overreaction this early in the season, but the true impact of these numbers combined with their own subtlety is the essence of Porter’s game.

It’s the type of efficiency that makes Porter such a critical piece of this Wizards team and their potential success moving forward. While Wall and Beal may remain the more fashionable pillars in Washington, Porter and his continued development will serve as a key cog in the team’s quest for a conference title and beyond.

In the meantime, at this rate of production and effectiveness on both ends of the floor, there shouldn't be anyone questioning Porter’s value or his importance to his team.