Give Otto Time, He'll Be Just Fine

Posted on October 03, 2013 by Trevor Jackson

The Wizards' Otto Porter missed all 5 days of training camp with a hip-flexor injury

Talk about a tough start to your rookie season. Since being drafted 3rd overall on June 27th, the Wizards' Otto Porter has had a rough ride.

Playing in Vegas this July, Porter was the highest drafted pick in the summer league and with the spotlight on him, he more than struggled. In the two games where he played meaningful minutes (29 & 30 mins), Otto shot a combined 7 of 26 from the floor.... an unacceptable 29.6% putting him in near Vesley'esque free throw percentage. He was 0-5 from three point range in those first two games and averaged only 7.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists. During the third game he injured his hamstring, which effectively ended his lackluster summer league campaign.

Poor play in the summer leagues is often easily excused, as guys are adjusting to the faster pace and there is generally an extreme lack of structure in terms of game plans and executions. Not to mention that summer league play is often dominated by heavy guard play. Wizards fan collectively, for the most part, tried to brush off the underwhelming performance with the thought that as soon as Otto gets into the structured atmosphere of a real team, he would have no problem adjusting.

Fast forward to September 28th and the Wizards opened their training camp with Porter listed as limited due to a hip-flexor injury. It initially sounded minor, and may still be, but as camp officially wrapped up Wednesday evening, Porter had missed participating in all 5 days of practice. It's definitely concerning for a guy who needs the added development, something Randy Wittman echoed. From J. Michael of CSN:

             "He's got to get himself going. He's missing a lot of valuable time now here in terms of what he's been limited to. We've got to be smart with him. We need to get him healthy and as soon as we can."

Although the message in that quote is a little mixed, Coach Wittman is 100% right. Porter needs to get healthy sooner rather than later, as the Wizards can't afford any more sideline spectators with Emeka Okafor and Chris Singleton already sidelined, and a few other guys like Trevor Ariza banged up.

There is no reason to panic just yet, no reason to give up on Porter's rookie campaign this early in the season. We haven't even reached preseason play yet. While the missed development is concerning, there is still some time to get him acclimated to the offense. The Wizards will have 7 preseason games prior to their October 30th season opener, starting with the first action on Tuesday, 10/8 vs the Nets. The preseason action is the perfect place for Otto to get his feet wet. The guys in front of him, Ariza and Martell Webster, won't need quite as much run as Otto since they are returning to the same offense from the year before and have been around the block. It's certainly going to be an uphill battle for Porter to find playing time behind the two veterans, but once he gets out on the court his talent and skill should take over.

Wizards fans need to express just a little more patience. All the reasons Porter was drafted number three overall are still in play. The versatility, the length, the defensive presence, the unselfishness, the passing ability and smart play of a guy who can impact the game without the ball in his hands. Otto is still the guy that everyone envisions being the perfect compliment to the backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal. Just give the development of Otto some time. Rome wasn't built in a day. 

next up:

6th & F Street Lowdown: Getting To Know You

October 03, 2013

After a long wait, we are cleared and ready for takeoff this week. This Saturday, The Oklahoma City Thunder will tipoff the 2013-14 NBA Preseason against Turkish squad Fenerbahce Ulker. Also, we are officially less than one month away from the Wizards season opener against the Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Shall we browse into what happened this week?

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