The third scoring option is a moving target, though more times than not it'll likely be Otto Porter who comes after John Wall and Bradley Beal. And even when he's not, Porter could still have as much impact on the outcome as anybody.
He's coming off a win vs. the Orlando Magic in which he had just nine points on 4-for-13 shooting, but added 10 rebounds, four assists, four steals and a block. Porter had the highest plus-minus of anyone on the floor (+20). No one else was close. With Beal out (left shoulder contusion), Kris Humphries picked up the scoring slack with a season-high 23 points as he was the recipient of repeated open looks because of the good ball movement.
“I can always come back from a bad shooting game. It’s just to stay confident and continue to play defense," said Porter, who is just 7-for-29 from three-point range, or 24%, for the season. "That’s something that propels my offense."
After scoring five points in the first quarter of a 108-99 win over Orlando, Porter cooled off. But his activity, moving off the ball and creating for his teammates is why he played a team-high 36 minutes. He had an shovel pass in traffic to Marcin Gortat for a layup late in the second quarter to help get the struggling center going. Porter's last two baskets can off layups in the third quarter for a 74-70 lead.
"He does a great job of pushing the pace. He’s comfortable putting the ball on the floor and making plays for other people," said Wall, the Wizards' top playmaker. "Always going to be averaging around nine or 10 rebounds because he’s always in the right position at the right time. He’s always in helpside defense. He’s does the little things on the basketball court that people don’t get noticed for.”
When Porter was taken No. 3 overall in the draft in 2013, this is the kind of player the Wizards expected, a utilityman who can fill up the stat sheet regardless of how bad he's shooting. He's a more athletic and versatile version of Trevor Ariza who left as a free agent two seasons ago. Just as important, when his shot isn't falling he can't lose his offensive aggression which is when coach Randy Wittman feels compelled to put him on the bench.
“Defensively, rebounding, making the right plays. All those things. He did a mixture of all those," Wittman said of his performance vs. Orlando. "That’s kind of who he is. His activity level, getting his hands on balls, making the right cuts from an offensive standpoint.
“We act like that should be surprising when somebody continues to play through a bad shooting night. I expect that out of everybody. That’s how you play in this league. If you become a player that when you don’t shoot the ball very good you’re going to (stop doing other things), how am I going to play you? No, it doesn’t surprise me. I want all out players to do that.”