A look at the NBA’s next premiere “3 and D” player.
Otto Porter Jr. who’s family calls him “Bubba”, was born into a basketball family in St. Louis, Missouri. His father, mother, and uncle all achieved certain levels of success in basketball. His uncle Marcus Timmons even being named “Mr. Basketball Missouri” in 1991. The precedent had been set, Otto was gonna be a ball player.
The plan saw some early results, Otto led his high school team (Scott County Central High School) to two state championships in his time there. He put up averages of 30 points and 14 rebounds in his senior year, getting ranked 37th overall in the nation.
He decided to attend college at the alma mater of NBA greats Allen Iverson, Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, and Dikembe Mutumbo, in addition to current NBA players Jeff Green, and Roy Hibbert (LOL), the Georgetown Hoyas. Otto was a small piece of the team in his freshman year, but almost doubled his usage rate in year two. He led the Hoyas to a 25–2 record while leading them in scoring. That year the Hoyas were a 2 seed in the annual “March Madness” tournament. They were part of one of the biggest upsets of the year, losing to the 15th seed, Florida Gulf Coast University.
Otto decided to forego his final two years of college eligibility, and enter his name into the NBA draft. Leading up to the draft he was praised as the “safe” pick. Lauded for being a complete player, he could shoot, pass, rebound, and defend his position, all at average or above average levels.
The Washington Wizards seemed like a perfect fit for Otto Porter Jr. and vice versa. They had, at the time found John Wall’s backcourt mate of the future, Bradley Beal. The explosive, neck breaking pace of John wall, the sharpshooting of Bradley Beal, and now Otto Porter Jr. the de facto “glue guy” to hit open shots, and make the right pass when it needed to be made. The dream came true for the Washington Wizards, as they selected him 3rd overall in the 2013 draft.
Otto’s professional career started in turmoil, he injured his hip flexor before the season started and missed 3 months. He struggled, and never found a rhythm in his rookie year. His sophomore year was more of the same, but like many elite defenders before him, he broke through on the NBA’s biggest stage (playoffs). He received the bulk of the minutes guarding the Toronto Raptors’ leading scorer DeMar DeRozan. Ultimately DeMar struggled with the length, and tenacity of Otto. The Wizards swept the Raptors (the higher ranked team). Otto had finally started to make good on the promise the franchise saw in him.
The Wizards had a rough season in 2015–16. Ultimately they missed the playoffs, but Otto Porter kept on with his progression. He started taking twice as many 3's a game, improving his percentage from behind the line to 37%. He had a meteoric rise in stats and efficiency along with his rise in minutes and trust from the players around him. Although, the season ended up in disappointment for Porter Jr. and the Wizards.
This season started out with more of the same for the Wizards, sleep walking to a 2–9 record to start the year. However led by the transcendent play of John Wall, the otherworldly efficiency of the Wall-Gortat pick and roll, Bradley Beal finally finding health, and of course Otto Porter Jr. the Wizards have been one of the best teams in the NBA since their poor start. They’re currently sitting 4th in the eastern conference, and their offensive and defensive ratings are ranked 10 and 11, respectively. Since they’ve been measuring the statistics of offensive and defensive rating, the NBA champion hasn’t been ranked outside the top 10 of either in the season they’ve won.
Otto Porter Jr. has a trajectory that lines up very well with the Wizards. He’s been sublime this year. The Wizards have been waiting for a release valve off the dive of the Wall-Gortat pick and roll, and they’ve found it. Otto Porter is shooting a ludicrous 47% on above the break 3's this year. This is really important because when Wall and Gortat run the pick and roll, Gortat will receive the pass, the defense will collapse, Gortat will pass to the open man in the corner, the man in the corner will see the defense coming towards him from the top, and will find Porter Jr. above the break, for an extremely efficient 3 point attempt.
Otto Porter has been a true marksman this year, as of right now he’s a fraction behind Kyle Korver for the best percentage from behind the line (Porter Jr. is at .456 Korver is at .459). He’s been nothing short of elite, and that doesn’t even mention how good his defense is. He has the best defensive rating on the Wizards at 106 (points per 100 possessions) and he’s allowed John Wall the ability to roam for steals (Wall is averaging a career high in steals at 2.1 per game) and play more aggressive at the point of attack.
It’s a foregone conclusion that Otto Porter Jr. will be receiving a max extension this summer. He’s been the Wizards best defender, and one of the league’s best 3 point shooters. So the next time you see a Wizards game on, don’t scroll by. Give yourself a chance to watch the one they call “Bubba” the NBA’s next premiere “3 and D” player.
Notable stats from Otto Porter Jr.:
14.3 PPG 6.7 TRB 1.5 AST 1.5 STL 53 FG% 45 3pt% 79 FT%
129 Ortg 106 Drtg 17.7 PER 64 TS%
.183 W/S per 48
*all stats from NBA.com