The Efficiency and Effectiveness of Otto Porter

After flying under the radar in the early part of his career, Otto Porter signed a max contract this summer, only to continue to fly under the radar, albeit in an extremely efficient and effective manner. He's proving to be worth the investment and deserving of more opportunities.

Breakthrough Season

Last year Otto Porter made solid strides in all areas. While usually the 3rd or 4th option on offense, he continued his slow and steady rise as one of the NBA’s most consistent and versatile, jack-of-all-trades type player, reaching career highs in his FG (51.6), FT (83.2) and 3 point (43.4) percentages, as well as points (13.4), rebounds (6.4), steals (1.5), blocks (0.5), and only 0.8 turnovers. While not eye-popping numbers, they exemplified the type of player who would grow up learning basketball from his uncles and cousins, emphasizing work ethic and versatility (His dad famously rejected the callings from AAU teams). A lot of what informs his tendencies, skills, and demeanor are reflected by what he learned in epic matches in his Grandma’s backyard in a tiny Missouri town.

via GIPHY (Note: He's thrived more on offense, but his defensive play has improved since the play above.)

Max Contract

As one of the few young players on the roster last season, discussions of his upcoming contract had Wiz fans buzzing. Would he get the max? Is he worth it? Washington has to match any offer, right? The definitive answer seemed to be I don’t know if he’s worth it, but the Wizards had to pay him. The team had limited alternatives due to the previous year’s extremely regrettable free agency bonanza. They couldn’t afford to lose him in free agency. They’ve been unsuccessful in luring big name free agents, with their last major coup being coin-flipping Gilbert Arenas. Washington had to gamble that Porter would continue to grow and become that true 3rd piece of the Big 3. As soon as free agency opened, Brooklyn signed Porter to a max offer of 4 years $106 million. The Wizards would match the offer a few days later, cementing the core pieces and future of the team.

Flexing That Effectiveness

Not the typical Max player, what Otto does bring to the table is insane efficiency and thoroughly effective and consistent play to the tune of 16.4 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.8 steals, 0.5 blocks, 0.7 turnovers, 2.1 3PM on 57.6 FG%, 50 3P%, 75 FT% so far this season. Looking deeper into the advanced stats for effectiveness, team-leading Box Plus/Minus of 6.4 and TS% 67.4%, team-leading 2.1 win shares and 0.9 value over replacement player. Compare his 2017-18 season so far against the big 2:





Win Shares

Box Plus Minus

Value Over Replacement Player

John Wall







Bradley Beal







Otto Porter







While his play is more smooth than flashy, it's proving to be extremely effective and the Wizards appear to have made the correct move in matching the contract. Porter's play has been a major contributing force to their 9-5 start. His extremely high efficiency and effectiveness also show that the Wizards should be utilizing him more. His 16.8 usage rate is pretty low for such a precise offensive player. His shooting, in particular, has been amazingly consistent, shooting lights out from just about anywhere: 76.7% from 0-3 feet, 63.2% from 3-10 feet, 52% from 10 feet to just inside the 3 point line, and 50% from 3. Nobody else on this team can touch that, not even the perfect shot mechanics of Bradley Beal. Overall, his play has finally been getting more attention.

Otto has a difficult time creating his own shot, but that’s not in his wheelhouse, he knows it and attempts it sparingly. Playing alongside an amazing passer like John Wall affords Porter the ability to thrive off of catch and shoot, cutting to the basket, and transition opportunities. He has figured his strengths and offensively he stays in his lane, which has helped him maintain his hyper-efficiency. He’s proven what he can do, but now it’s up to Scott Brooks to continue to stretch and challenge him, expanding his usage, create more opportunities and run more plays designed for Porter to score.

Needs More Involvement

To put this in perspective, Wall and Beal average over 8 combined isolation plays per 36 minutes that have been mostly ineffective to the tune of a 40% FG percentage. In contrast, looking back at the Wizard’s most recent game, Otto was having an amazing 1st half, only to follow up the entire 2nd half with just 2 shots, ending the game with 12 points (on 5-8 shooting), 2 3’s, 13 boards, and 2 steals. It’s probably worth considering increasing Porter’s usage, design and run more plays for him at the expense of some of these iso plays. Nobody is challenging Wall and Beal’s status as Alpha 1A and 1B on this team, but the offense as a whole could be even more potent if Porter’s involvement increased. He’s technically the highest paid player on the team until Wall’s extension kicks in, the Wizards might as well make him work for it, and improve the team in the process.

(When they let Otto fill it up, they can almost beat the Warriors.)

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