So much was made about the Wizards lack of stretch-4 options last regular season that we're clearly making a (Donald Trump voice) huge deal about the scenario ahead of the 2015-16 campaign.
- The primary choice during the playoffs, Paul Pierce, bolted this summer but this directly led to Washington trading for Jared Dudley. We later learned the two-way threat needed back surgery, jeopardizing his availability for the start of the season. This led to pondering other options.
- Drew Gooden re-signed. Deep shooting threat, though not really quick enough to defend the sleek perimeter forwards. Reliable and always ready for action.
- Kris Humphries hasn't made a 3-pointer during an NBA game since his rookie season, but the veteran is working on expanding his shooting range.
- Speaking of back woes, what about Martell Webster in the stretch-4 role?
- Once his body fills out and he learns how to play on the NBA level, what Kelly Oubre Jr.?
That's five names right there. How about one for the thumb? How about...Otto Porter?
The rising third-year forward was a guest Tuesday on SiriusXM NBA Radio. Hosts Tom Byrne and Vinny Del Negro asked the former Georgetown standout if he was ready to step into Pierce's stretch-4 shoes.
“Definitely, because that’s how the NBA is transitioning, you know, to smaller lineups," Porter said. "So being able to stretch out as a four is going to be key, and that is something with our coaching we might end up doing. It’s definitely something I’ll be comfortable with.”
First off, don't get tripped up by Porter's use of the word "definitely." We all have our words ticks and one of Porter's is using that d-word at the start of sentences. (He again starts an answer with "definitely" in response to the very next question about the team's expectations following two straight playoff appearances.)
That said, depending on the matchup, sure the lengthy Porter could certainly defend other perimeter forwards - if those other perimeter forwards are also true small forwards masquerading as four's. Players like DeMarre Carroll and Tayshaun Prince come to mind.
At last check, the 6-foot-8 Porter tipped the scales at a mere 198 pounds. By comparison, Atlanta's Paul Millsap, a matchup nightmare for Washington during the playoffs, is listed at 253. Dudley (223 pounds) isn't that big, but certainly has enough base to push back.
Here's another point: Porter started emerging as a legitimate 3-and-D option late last season. Just ask Toronto's DeMar DeRozan.
That's another en vogue role around the NBA. Players who can defend opposing wings and then sink 3-pointers without being the focal point of the offense. Ultimately, this is where Porter will make his mark while hopefully expanding on his game.
Even though he has the height and length, it's a stretch thinking of Porter as a consistent stretch-4 until he truly bulks up. The thing is, that's fine. He's needed elsewhere.