Otto Porter not so impressive early in his Wizards career

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“With the third pick in the 2013 NBA draft, the Washington Wizards select Otto Porter, Small Forward, Georgetown.”

The Wizards had selected the 6-8, 197-pound Big East Player of the year and well-liked hometown kid. At the time of the pick, there were no objections from Wizards Nation as there was a dearth of small forwards on the roster and Porter seemed to have a low floor, meaning that there was little risk in this pick.

Through 43 games the notably skinny forward has only played in 21 games and has averaged 1.8 points in those contests. His stats are not the main concern with his play as Porter seems completely out of sync on the floor. In his limited minutes, he has chucked up bad shots and seemed incapable of handling the ball. Many knowledgeable basketball analysts and fans know that it is very rare for rookies to produce immediately but Porter’s putrid start as a Wizard leaves a plethora of questions to be answered.

Prior to draft day 2013, the popular speculation was that the Wizards were going to select Otto, yet there was nowhere near 100 percent certainty. Names like Anthony Bennett and Nerlens Noel were thrown around but there was never much substance to those rumors. Hindsight is no doubt 20-20 and it is extremely early in his career; nonetheless some of the other paths that the Wizards could have taken seem rather appealing right now.

To truly analyze the draft at the time we have to negate the Marcin Gortat signing because at that time there was no way to predict that. Had the Wizards drafted, say, Nerlens Noel, they would have their center of the future.

Point guard and center are often regarded as the two most important positions in basketball as a good team usually needs a floor general and an inside presence. Also with a star point guard and floor general for Noel to grow with in John Wall, there is no telling how good Nerlens could have been. Two other possibilities at Center were Pitt big man Steven Adams and Kelly Olynyk, the Canadian out of Gonzaga. Both are loaded with potential as Adams is a serious presence in the post already and Olynyk can stretch the floor in a Dirk Nowitzki-reminiscent manner.

If the Wizards were intent on nabbing a small forward they could have drafted one of the several promising big men and acquired a small forward through a trade. For the Wizards to draft a player so early yet not have that player in the regular rotation is disappointing. The Wizards clearly thought they were a playoff contender when they acquired Gortat just before the season started so why stunt such an early draft pick’s development? Looking back, the smart move for the Wizards would have been trading down and acquiring a big man either later in the first round or another player who would have the opportunity to develop.

Obviously, anyone who writes off “Otto-Matic” Porter this early in his career is rather quick to render their decision. Many players take a while to develop and Porter  has also missed quite a few games with injuries which clearly could not aid his development. Porter has NBA height and plenty of room to add pounds, and has always been a plus defender. Otto has the potential to be a quality NBA player but as of right now he seems like merely a role player. I hope he becomes everything the Wizards want him to become but it is always fun to wonder “what if?”

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