It has been well-documented what’s going on in Cleveland with Anthony Bennett, the top overall pick in the 2013 draft who has been absolutely awful this season.
This week, we saw the debut of Otto Porter, the No. 3 overall pick of the Washington Wizards. And while Porter is returning from an injury and has only played two games, the early returns don’t look promising.
Porter didn’t exactly light it up in the Las Vegas Summer League, then suffered a hip injury in training camp, which certainly impacted his learning curve. He sat out Washington’s first 18 games before finally making his debut Friday vs. Milwaukee.
Porter has nowhere to go but up following his first touch as an NBA player. He received a pass on the right wing, attempted a jab step move and was immediately called for traveling.
The 6-8 forward went scoreless in 14 minutes, missing all three shots, including a 3-pointer. He collected two rebounds, an assist, two fouls and the aforementioned turnover in a 109-105 loss.
Afterward, Porter admitted he was caught off guard by the speed of the NBA game.
“When you first play, the guys are flying by you and you’re like, ‘Whoa,’” he said. “But once you’re out there more and more, it slows down a lot.”
Apparently not that much. Three nights later against Denver, Porter barely avoided an ignominious 7 trillion by managing to grab a rebound. All of his minutes came in the first half as he was pulled from the rotation after halftime.
The Wizards are in a tough spot with Porter. Entering the season, the general consensus was that Washington was good enough to contend for a bottom-four playoff spot in the East. But the Wizards lost seven of their first nine games and appeared to be headed toward another lost season.
However, Washington fought its way back to .500, which is good enough for a top-four seed in the embarrassment abyss of the East. Even with two straight home losses, the Wizards sit sixth at 9-11.
The postseason is there for the taking, and any sort of meaningful contribution from Porter would be a terrific boost, especially with swingman Martell Webster recently sidelined by a sprained ankle.
Webster has said he expects to return Friday against Atlanta. Meanwhile, starting small forward Trevor Ariza has been a reliable scorer at 16.2 points per game and also is in the top 20 in minutes at 36.2 per contest.
When Webster returns, that won’t leave much daylight for Porter. And when shooting guard and leading scorer Bradley Beal gets back, there will be even fewer opportunities for the rookie.
Right now, it looks like Porter’s development and making the postseason are mutually exclusive.
On to the rankings, where we have a new No. 1.
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