Let’s be frank, Summer League was a wash for Otto Porter and the Washington Wizards. After two sinful performances in Las Vegas, Porter bowed out in his third contest after a hamstring injury. While he didn’t necessarily lose development time in his absence, Washington did miss out on the opportunity to experiment with the No. 3 pick in the NBA Draft.
Scouting is all fine and dandy, but the best way for teams to find out what exactly a player can do in an NBA setting is through trial and error. This was the case with No. 2 overall pick Victor Oladipo and the Orlando Magic. Oladipo, a shooting guard in his three seasons at Indiana, played primarily at point guard during the Orlando Summer League, a position he hadn’t even played in high school. While it’s unlikely that Oladipo sees significant burn at the point when the real games begin, Orlando now has a better gauge of what Oladipo can do when his sole mindset isn’t on scoring.
Washington did experiment with Porter to an extent by slotting him at shooting guard in his brief summer league stint, but with Porter neither possessing the shooting acumen, ball handling or athleticism of the typical two-guard, Washington simply got conformation of what they already knew. The position Washington truly needed to see Porter man was power forward. It was a position that, prior to injury, Washington Summer League head coach Sam Cassell had indicated he would try Porter at.
Seeing that Washington currently has a gluttony of players that play Porter’s natural small forward position — Glen Rice Jr., Martell Webster and Trevor Ariza — using Porter at power forward might be the best way to alleviate this logjam. With Porter being 6-foot-8 and having a huge wingspan, it isn’t unfathomable that Porter could play power forward. If Shane Battier can log significant minutes at power forward, in the playoffs no less, why can’t Porter?
While Porter is mostly compared to Tayshaun Prince, Shawn Marion is a player I feel is more akin to Porter. Porter doesn’t possess the athleticism that “The Matrix” had in his heyday, but his nondescript game reminds me of Marion. He won’t have plays run for him and his play won’t astound you, but at games end, his fingerprints are all over the stat sheet.
With stretch four-men being in vogue throughout the league, Porter wouldn’t be too overmatched on the defensive end and his shooting ability would space the floor on offense. A crunch-time lineup of John Wall, Bradley Beal, Webster, Porter and Nene would easily be Washington’s best offensive lineup and could possibly be their best defensive lineup when combatting teams employing small-ball lineups.
He may have been drafted as a small forward, but going forward, Porter’s best position for the Wizards is at power forward.