It’s 2017, and I’ve never had so much optimism about the Brooklyn Nets. After striking out three times last year with RFAs, Otto Porter is a redemption piece.
This topic is all speculation. But that’s why it’s fun. Otto Porter, a 23-year-old forward for the Washington Wizards, is going to enter restricted free agency this summer if he doesn’t accept the Wizards’ qualifying offer, and, according to Brian Lewis of the NY Post, the Brooklyn Nets are interested in the 6-8 wingman.
In essence, a QO acts as a one-year contract that allows a player to become an RFA. The rookie scale means Porter’s offer is $7.73 million, a 30 percent increase from year four, and there’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll refuse that offer with how much the salary cap has ballooned.
Once that happens, the Nets will most likely offer him a nice lump sum, just like they did for Tyler Johnson and Allen Crabbe. As always, the kicker with being a restricted free agent is that you stick with your original team if they match the offer sheet, and Washington has no reason to let him walk.
After two seasons of being dormant, Porter showed flashes of being a solid player in year three, and he averaged 11.3 points on 47.3 percent shooting and 5.2 rebounds as the Wizards starting small forward. This year, Porter has reached another level.
Career-highs in points (14.1), rebounds (6.6) and steals (1.6) highlight his two-way development, but he is absolutely shooting the lights out.
Three guys in the NBA this season have played 1,000 minutes and shoot better than 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three and 80 percent from the foul line: LaMarcus Aldridge, Myles Turner and Otto Porter.
Here’s another interesting stat: Porter is also the only guy in the league to shoot 60 percent on twos while maintaining the 40 and 80 percent from three and the free throw line.
Not matter how you cut it, it’s impressive. And Porter’s fourth on the team in shot attempts.
Furthermore, his offense is well-balanced. He’s a floor spacer, which is perfect for a point guard (John Wall, in this case) who loves to attack the basket and is adept at it. The clip below is a fast break possession, but it’s a three-on-three, so there’s no advantage for either side. However, Bojan Bogdanovic decides to help off of Porter, and, if Jeremy Lin were his point guard, the same thing would happen.
As Porter steps in, the percentages go up, and he’s far from a reluctant mid-range shooter. He’s shooting 49 percent on 96 attempts, which is highly respectable and tougher to defend since he’s nailing more than 40 percent of his threes. The biggest thing with him, though, is his length.
Porter measured 6-8.5 at the 2013 NBA Draft Combine, but he boasts a tremendous 7-1.5 wingspan that tied him for the 11th longest that year. Plus, he’s a decent athlete. The combination of everything is what makes Porter the fourth-best mid-range shooter in the NBA among those who have at least 90 attempts from that zone.
In this clip below against the Dallas Mavericks, notice how they have a semi-small lineup out there. Seth Curry, all 6-2 of him, is the one sticking Porter. Now, I don’t know if there was a switch the possession before, but this is as close to bar-b-que chicken as it’s going to get for a perimeter player.
Curry goes under the Marcin Gortat screen, freeing up Porter. Because of his development as an offensive player, he recognizes this and elevates way over the top of Steph’s little brother, and he was able to create this bucket without using a single dribble.
This play is a long two off a Markieff Morris pass, but Trevor Ariza is a tall, lanky defender who can make up ground after the initial help off. Notice the cushion Ariza gives Porter, and also see how he doesn’t close out hard because he knows he’ll get beat if he does.
NBA players read the scouting report. Coaches read the scouting report. And having someone who’s as versatile and efficient as Porter gives defenses fits.
If there’s one area where he could use improvement, it’s creating off the dribble. Luckily, for him, he hasn’t been in a spot where he needs to be a go-to guy for his team. He works off screens and does a lot of cutting, meaning he’d fit nicely in Kenny Atkinson’s pass-heavy, motion offense.
Another jarring stat is the Wizards are 2.2 points better with him on the floor, but Porter boasts a plus-10.3 net rating per 100 possessions.
Some of that is attributed to his improvement on defense, and he’s finally learning how to use his body to bother opponents. Unfortunately, it gets lost in the Wizards’ collective mess.
All of this means that Porter will get somewhere between $18-20 million from the Nets and it will force Washington to make a choice. If Porter signed with Brooklyn, he wouldn’t need to be a first or even a second option guy, but he’d still be a weapon who’s heavily involved.
Since he’s having such a great year, the Wizards would be nuts not to match, but there’s no harm in Sean Marks shooting his shot.