Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter was one of the biggest rookie disappointments of last season. Drafted number 3 overall, Porter struggled with injuries and posted a measly 2.1 PPG, failing to make any semblance of an impact. After watching Porter struggle mightily while failing to crack the Wizards' rotation, many were quick to right Porter off as a bust.
However, Porter's strong showing in the team's recent summer league victory over the Atlanta Hawks could be a sign that Porter is headed in the right direction. Porter scored a team high 25 points on 11-16 shooting while grabbing seven rebounds. Porter and fellow second year man Glen Rice Jr., who himself scored 22 points, looked impressive in leading the team and controlling the game in the team's 90-74 victory. Porter's mid-range game was clicking, reminding fans of the scoring prowess he displayed as an All-American at Georgetown.
With Trevor Ariza gone, Martell Webster injured, and Paul Pierce not likely to play more than 25 minutes a game, Porter should have the opportunity to log some solid minutes at the small forward position this season. If he can stay healthy and gain some valuable experience, his all-around game should begin to translate to the NBA and he can begin to shed the label of bust.
Another key factor in Porter's growth is the addition of Pierce, who will serve as a mentor to Porter. Pierce's experience, reputation and proven track record of success make him an ideal role model, and his poise and intensity are traits that will hopefully rub off on the young forward.
The Wizards don't need Porter to be a superstar, but they do need him to be something. Porter remains a huge question mark, and the Wizards need to now what they have in him as the team continues to grow into a legitimate contender. If Porter can grow into a quality rotation player, the Wizards' future will be that much brighter.
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