Though some were skeptical when the Wizards signed forward Otto Porter to a max contract worth $106.5 million over four years this past summer, Porter has responded with a convincing start to this season and in doing so has earned some high praise from LeBron James.
James discussed Porter's improvement at the Cavaliers' shootaround on Friday morning at Capital One Arena and brought up the contract unprompted.
"He's worked on his game extremely well and he's earned the big paycheck that he got," James said.
Porter has drawn glowing reviews from opponents and opposing coaches over the past year in particular. When they scout the Wizards on film, Porter stands out as a guy who does the little things required to win in the NBA.
James is a fan of his game.
"You can't give Otto Porter no daylight these days. The last couple of years he has shot the ball extremely well, especially from the perimeter which has ultimately created a lot of opportunities and space for John [Wall]," James said.
Porter, 24, is averaging 18.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and a league-best 2.7 steals per game, all while shooting a ridiculous 55.7 percent from the field and 51.7 percent from three. He's one of the most efficient players in the NBA and has really come into his own after being drafted third overall by the Wizards in 2013.
The Wizards' 2015 first round pick, Kelly Oubre, Jr., is also making strides this year. He's putting up 11.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game. Oubre is just 21, but the Cavs see a player getting better at a fast pace.
"I worked out with Kelly this summer with John a couple of times. It's just all about confidence for him," James said. "He's getting an opportunity from the coach and he's just trying to seize the opportunity and make the most of it."
"His three-point shooting," Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue said when asked what has improved in Oubre's game. "We knew he was a slasher. We knew he could get to the basket. The way he's shooting the ball, with his confidence in taking [4.4] a game and shooting [45.2] percent. He improved his jumpshot and he can play off of Wall and [Bradley] Beal. He's really taken to that, so we've gotta be aware of him when he's on the floor. He's turned into a good player."
The Wizards get their first crack at the Cavs on Friday night at Capital One Arena.
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