Porter lacks confidence at shooting guard

Porter lacks confidence at shooting guard
July 14, 2013, 6:45 pm
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Porter continuing to develop in Summer League play

LAS VEGAS –- Otto Porter is playing out of position, starting at shooting guard for the second game in a row for the Wizards at summer league.

He shot 4-for-13 in Sunday’s 82-69 loss to the New York Knicks. On Saturday, he went 3-for-13 in a 56-52 loss to the Golden State Warriors.

These are exhibitions, so the end results aren't as important as the process. If the Wizards had Bradley Beal, who still hasn't been cleared to play after a stress injury to his lower right leg, Porter would be at his more natural spot of small forward.

He’s settling for jump shots and isn't attacking the basket much. He still hasn't figured out the spacing. 

“It’s hard to get that comfortability right now,” said Porter, the No. 3 overall pick in the draft. “Right now I’m just trying to figure out where can I play, where can I establish myself.

“It’s totally different from what I’m used to playing. It’s like I’m learning all over again.”

The Wizards got off to a better start Sunday with Marquez Haynes running the point. Porter had a fast-break layup and fed Chris Singleton out of a double-team for a baseline dunk. The Wizards led 11-7, but they struggled defensively with the physical play from Jeremy Tyler and Terrence Jennings. 

“They beat us in the paint the whole night,” said assistant coach Don Newman, who ran the team after Sam Cassell, another assistant, coached the Wizards on Saturday. “You’re trying to make a team, you’re in a showcase situation and everybody’s got to come out there and got to understand the urgency of playing the game defensively and offensively. Sometimes I didn't see that with some of the guys on the court.”

In the open court, Porter looks fine. Not so much in half-court sets. He missed all three of his three-point attempts.

“The shots are there. It’s a matter of knocking them down,” he said of his 27% overall shooting in summer league. “Just playing in the summer league lets you know where you at and what you can do.”

Newman cautions that there’s no reason to be alarmed by the slow start. The Wizards’ other draft pick, Glen Rice, had nine points on 3-for-8 shooting, five rebounds and a blocked shot in 18 minutes. He’s now 6-for-20 shooting, or 30%.

“Basically it’s his second game out,” Newman said of Porter. “I don’t think we can be too hard on him. The kid is trying to pick things up. He’s listening. He understands basketball. He just has to get the confidence.

“We’re trying to see where he’s comfortable. … We want him to be aggressive. We don’t want him hesitating with the shots. We don’t want him hesitating with the drive.”

The Wizards are off Monday, but instead of practicing could run a scrimmage with the Toronto Raptors. They play their third summer league game Tuesday vs. the Denver Nuggets (NBATV, 10 p.m. ET).

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