Picture via CSN Mid-Atlantic
Now that the Wizards have officially matched the Brooklyn Net’s 4 year/$106 million max contract sheet for Otto Porter, many are debating whether Porter is deserving of a max contract. Let’s look at what Porter does and then decide if he has done enough to earn the contract.
Three Point Shooting
Porter has raised his three point percentage in each of his four years, going from bad (19.0%) to slightly below average (33.7%) to slightly above average (36.7%) all the way to becoming one of the league’s elite sharpshooters (43.4%). After spending most of the year at number one, Porter finished the season with the NBA’s fifth highest three point percentage behind only known three point assassins Joe Ingles, Allen Crabbe, Kyle Korver, and Pau Gasol (wait, what?). Otto had a large sample size, attempting 341 threes (about 4 per game). Once the rest of the league realized they couldn’t leave Ottomatic open, the threat of him shooting opened up the court for John Wall and Bradley Beal. While the John Wall effect definitely helped a lot, Porter added a lot to the offense just from catching and shooting from beyond the arc.
The Eastern Conference is filled with great small forwards. Even after losing Paul George and Jimmy Butler to the Western Conference, there’s still LeBron James, Giannis Antetoukounmpo, Carmelo Anthony (for now), and Ben Simmons among others. The Wizards need someone to guard those players, along with some of the conference’s elite shooting guards and Porter was the guy taking the tough wing assignments each night so that Beal could focus more of his energy on offense. Porter led the team in defensive win shares and almost doubled up the next closest wing player in DWS (3.0 vs Beal’s 1.6). He also ranked second on the Wizards in steals per game (1.5) behind only Wall. Without Porter, Washington would have had to rely on the talented but inconsistent Kelly Oubre.
The most underrated aspect of Otto Porter’s game is probably his versatility. His 6’8″ size allows him to play either forward position. Everyone knows the teams best lineup is their five starters, but not everyone knows that their second best lineup consisted of Wall, Beal, Oubre, Porter, and Marcin Gortat. The only reason they could trot out this lineup on a regular basis was because Porter was able to hold his own against opposing power forwards. He could defend and rebound well enough at the 4 spot that coach Scott Brooks didn’t have to worry about the Wiz getting destroyed in the paint when they went small.
One more small thing worth mentioning is that Porter led the entire NBA in turnover percentage with a minuscule 4.9%. This is extremely valuable because it meant that Porter never threw away possessions and most of his touches either resulted in a shot or a pass, which are both significantly better than a turnover.
Now that I’ve looked at what Otto Porter bring to the table, it’s time to ask the question:
Is Porter deserving of the max contract in today’s NBA? Yes.
However, is he deserving of being paid more than John Wall or Bradley Beal? No, but that argument is not relevant here because the max contract is worth more now than it was when Wall and Beal signed their contracts.