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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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John Wall has MRI on left knee as early-season injury saga continues

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John Wall has MRI on left knee as early-season injury saga continues

Point guard John Wall was a notable absence at Friday afternoon's Wizards practice, as he sat out after having an MRI done on his left knee earlier in the day. 

Despite playing well against the Hornets in the team's last game, Wall is still feeling discomfort and now the Wizards wait to hear the test results. Wall may not play against the Blazers on Saturday night.

"John is definitely going to be questionable tomorrow," head coach Scott Brooks said. "We'll see how he feels [Saturday morning] and then make a decision from there."

Wall's knee issue dates back to two weeks ago. He first complained about swelling in his knee after a game against the Sacramento Kings.

[RELATED: MORRIS HAS GROWN VERY CLOSE TO WALL AND BEAL]

Wall has since had his knee drained, but the problems have persisted. Wall says his mobility is affected most.

Wall, 27, has missed two games for the Wizards this season, one due to a sprained left shoulder and another because of his knee. He is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.

Wall had one of his best games against the season in Charlotte on Wednesday. Despite playing through pain, he managed 31 points and 11 assists. He played 41 minutes because the game went to overtime.

If Wall can't go against the Blazers, the Wizards will rely heavily on backup point guard Tim Frazier. Either way, they have a tough assignment at that position with Damian Lillard of Portland.

[RELATED: MORRIS IS A BIG FAN OF MIKE SCOTT]

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Markieff Morris sees a lot of himself in Wizards teammate Mike Scott

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USA Today Sports Images

Markieff Morris sees a lot of himself in Wizards teammate Mike Scott

The early returns on backup forward Mike Scott have been quite good for the Wizards. Signed to a one-year deal in free agency, Scott is off to a strong start.

He's averaging 8.6 points and 3.4 rebounds while shooting 53.4 percent from the field and 44.8 percent from three. His 59.7 effective field goal percentage is second on the team behind Otto Porter.

At his best, Scott has proven to be instant offense and an efficient scorer. He's reached double figures in seven out of his last 12 appearances while shooting 59 percent.

Scott is the backup to Markieff Morris and Morris likes what he sees so far.

"He fits perfect. We should have been gotten him," Morris said on the Wizards Tipoff podcast. "I feel like me and him are going to have a couple great years together, if you ask me."

[RELATED: MORRIS STANDS UP FOR RAPPER MEEK MILL]

There are some similarities in the games of Morris and Scott. They are close in size and can score both inside and out. They offer a respectable three-point shot with a strong midrange and post game to complement.

Others have pointed it out and Morris sees it, too.

"I think he's trying to steal my game," he joked. "We kind of resemble each other a lot more than what I thought before he got here."

Morris of course has a twin in real life, Marcus who plays for the Celtics. But Scott is like his twin on the Wizards' bench, figuratively speaking.

"It's kind of hard to distinguish between the two sometimes when they're making shots because they play the same way," guard Bradley Beal said. "They can knock down threes, they can give you the post up game, they can handle the ball. They are definitely one in the same, in a sense."

"There's a lot of similarities. They have a lot of the same mannerisms," head coach Scott Brooks said. "They have this real, tough, calming influence on the group. I like guys that have that edge to them."

Morris also discussed his relationship with John Wall and Bradley Beal, how his season has gone so far and who Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons remind him of on the podcast.

Listen to the full interview 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!