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.
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.
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