The Washington Wizards knew the guy they wanted going into the 2013 NBA Draft. Even with the way the crazy draft-night played out and even with Nerlens Noel there at the third pick for the taking, the Wizards never faltered in their position that they were going to select small forward Otto Porter.
With the draft over, it’s now time for the Las Vegas NBA Summer League and it’s the first time we are getting a glimpse of Porter in an NBA environment. Given what he did in college, it was expected that Porter was going to put his fantastic defensive skills on display, but it was his offensive game that people would be paying the most attention to.
In his first game on Saturday afternoon, Porter indeed played great defense, pestering opponents on the perimeter. However, he struggled offensively as he scored just seven points on only 3-13 shooting in just under 30 minutes on the floor. Since it was just one game and his first time in an NBA setting, though, it still felt like too soon to worry at all.
With Porter’s second Summer League game on Sunday came a reason to worry, though. While his defense remained impressive, Porter netted just eight points on 4-13 shooting in 29 minutes of playing time. His jumper wasn’t falling and he seemed to be a little lost and slow within the pace of the game.
The biggest thing that’s a cause for concern with Porter through his first two Summer League games is his lack of strength. When playing at the small forward, Porter has been pushed around and denied his driving lanes on a regular basis. His inability to out-muscle guys and not having the pace to get by them has severely limited his ability to do anything positive on the offensive end of the floor.
Luckily for the Wizards, this is a common problem with rookies. The NBA game requires a great deal more strength than the college game, so a lot of young players, even the top prospects, need to hit the weight room. If Porter wants to be successful in this league outside of being a good defender, he has to work on his strength. He has a nice offensive game, but he’s not been able to show it at Summer League because he’s being out-muscled. That’s only going to get worse in the regular season if he doesn’t get stronger.