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What Otto Porter plans to improve in his game now that he's signed a new contract

What Otto Porter plans to improve in his game now that he's signed a new contract

The Wizards had the good fortune of seeing two young stars in John Wall and Bradley Beal take significant leaps in their development right after signing max contracts. After they earned their money in a guaranteed deal, they continued to improve. Now it's Otto Porter's turn.

Porter, 24, will make $106.5 million over the next four seasons. The Wizards are content with paying him that number, but do expect for him to continue taking his game to new levels. Much of this contract was a projection of the future and they feel good about what's ahead for Porter.

"Otto has a terrific work ethic. He's gotten better every year. He got better every year in college," team president Ernie Grunfeld said. "We just see a lot of upside in him. He's only 24 years old and most players don't hit their peak until their 27 or 28. There is still a lot of upside."

Porter managed to improve significantly this past season to post career-bests in points per game (13.4), rebounds (6.4), steals (1.5), field goal percentage (51.6), three point percentage (43.4), free throw percentage (83.2) and effective field goal percentage (60.8). In each of those categories he has gotten better from year-to-year in all four of his NBA seasons.

[RELATED: Wizards are fine with breaching luxury tax for Porter]

Porter's game is well-rounded to the point where he can do just about everything fairly well. As he gets older and continues to reach his prime, it will interesting to see which skills end up truly separating him from his peers.

"I just pride my game on being versatile and doing whatever it takes to win," he said. "For me, if that means being versatile and doing other things, I want to win. I think that I’m definitely embraced that role. I will do whatever I can, whether that’s rebounding or defending or anything like that. I’m going to do whatever it takes to win for this team."

During the press conference to announce Porter's new deal, the Wizards small forward outlined the specific areas he hopes to improve in the next few years:

"I want to continue to improve in getting stronger and being able to defend bigger guys. I definitely want to be able to do that. I’m going to continue working on my midrange and my three-point, extending my range out. The big thing for me is my ballhandling. I want to make sure I keep my ballhandling real tight, whether I get the rebound and push it up the floor myself, I just want to be able to maintain my skills."

If Porter can get better at defending big forwards, that would be excellent for the Wizards in terms of playing small and switching on defense. If he can develop a better handle, he will be more consistent at getting his own shot and scoring, which will take pressure off of Wall and Beal. All of it makes sense. Part of the process of improvement is identifying areas that need to be improved and clearly Porter has a well-thought out plan.

[RELATED: Brandon Jennings' best moments with Wizards]

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Wizards Tipoff podcast, Ep. 33 - Sneaker special... it's all about the kicks

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CSN

Wizards Tipoff podcast, Ep. 33 - Sneaker special... it's all about the kicks

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast, we focused entirely on sneakers and how they intersect with the culture of basketball. Chase Hughes and Chris Miller were joined by CSN producers (and sneakerheads) Ajay Atayee and Terrence Stroder in studio.

The four of them brought on two expert guests on the phone. First was Cool Kicks sneaker store owner Daniel Habtemariam. Second was Michael Sykes, a blogger at SB Nation.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

[RELATED: Keef and Dolph: an odd couple friendship within the Wizards' organization]

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Wizards 2017-18 roster outlook: Jason Smith's improvement as a shooter should help Wizards bench

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USA Today Sports

Wizards 2017-18 roster outlook: Jason Smith's improvement as a shooter should help Wizards bench

As part of CSN's preview for the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we preview Jason Smith's season...

Player: Jason Smith

Position: Power forward/center

Age: 31

2016-17 stats: 74 G, 14.4 mpg, 5.7 ppg, 0.3 apg, 3.5 rpg, 0.3 spg, 0.7 bpg, 52.9 FG%, 47.4 3P%, 68.6 FT%, 58.5 eFG%, 110 ORtg, 108 DRtg

2017-18 storyline: Smith's first season in Washington didn't get off to a great start, much like the team as a whole. He was among several players struggling on the Wizards' bench early on, shooting just 36.7 percent from the field in 11.8 minutes a night through 16 games. Smith ultimately found his niche despite inconsistent minutes as a key player on the bench with Ian Mahinmi out most of the year due to injury.

Smith made his impact as an energy guy off the bench. At his best, he disrupted shots in the lane and spread the floor with an improving three-point shot. Smith hit two threes in October, November and December. From January on, Smith made 35 of them at a 46.7 percent clip. By March he was knocking down multiple threes per night on a regular basis.

[RELATED: HOW THE NBA CAN PREVENT TANKING]

Smith's emergence as a three-point threat was unexpected, as it happened in his Age 30 season. But it wasn't just luck and it didn't happen overnight. For years Smith practice threes and he had already developed into a solid midrange shooter. It was last year that his range extended beyond the three-point line.

Whether the Wizards can count on Smith to hit threes at a high rate this season is unclear, but that versatility is what could help him remain in head coach Scott Brooks' rotation. If Mahinmi can stay healthy, that will likely mean less minutes for Smith. But if Smith can spread the floor, he can be a nice complement to Mahinmi or Marcin Gortat as a stretch-4.

For as much continuity as there will be in the Wizards' starting lineup, their bench has many new faces. That group also includes Mahinmi, who played only 31 games last year. Smith have a full season in Brooks' system will help him hit the ground running this season in a second unit that will require an adjustment period.

Potential to improve: Chemistry with other bigs, free throw shooting, rim protection.

MORE WIZARDS' ROSTER PREVIEWS:

Can John Wall take another step after earning All-NBA?

Is this the year Bradley Beal becomes an All-Star?

What is the next step in Otto Porter's development?

Markieff Morris can be an X-factor this season

Will Marcin Gortat's role change or be the same this year?

Will Kelly Oubre, Jr. make a big leap this season?

Can Ian Mahinmi make a bigger impact in his second season?

Will Tim Frazier be the solution at backup point guard?

Jodie Meeks could make big impact off bench

Mike Scott can add toughness to Wizards' bench

[RELATED: WHO WILL BE MOST-IMPROVED ON THE WIZARDS THIS YEAR?]

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