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Morning tip: Otto Porter puts contract talk where it belongs -- on ignore

Morning tip: Otto Porter puts contract talk where it belongs -- on ignore

The writing had been on the wall for quite some time that Otto Porter would go into this season without an extension to his rookie scale contract, but his approach hasn't been any different. While a player being in a contract year can cause chemistry issues for some teams, that's not the case with Porter.

"It's definitely a factor depending on who that is," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "I've been on teams where that guy was in his contract year but was not a team guy. You knew he was going for numbers. ... With our guy, Otto, he's a team guy. He's a winner. I would never worry about him. He plays the right way. He plays for his team. He makes a lot of winning basketball plays. I love coaching him. Going forward, that would not even cross my mind. That's not going to cross his mind. He's going to play hard and do what he has always done."

Porter's output in an 0-2 start for the Wizards has been consistent with what he did a season ago. He averaged 11.6 points and 5.2 rebounds last season and now is at 11.5 points and 5.0 rebounds. 

For his part, Porter, a meek and unassuming small forward who avoided the AAU circuit en route to becoming an elite prospect, doesn't care about any of the chatter. He'll likely become a restricted free agent next summer provided the Wizards make him a $7.7 million qualifying offer to retain the first right of refusal. 

"I'm just focused on basketball. I let my agent deal with all that," said Porter, who is represented by David Falk. "He's going to make it easy on me."

The Wizards had so many players on expiring deals during a 41-41 season that kept them out of the playoffs, players admitted at the time they thought that was one of many issues. Trey Burke and Marcus Thornton are expiring and there are three rookies on the roster with non-guranteed deals.

"Everybody understands this is a business," Brooks said. "The business of basketball is going out there playing hard and playing well and having your teammates have success and your team doing well. When that takes place, everybody gets rewarded. ... It always works out for guys like Otto."

[RELATED: Recovering Mahinmi '17 days out' from returning to Wizards]

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The Wizards offense and defense are on opposite ends of the efficiency spectrum

The Wizards offense and defense are on opposite ends of the efficiency spectrum

As good as the Wizards' offense has been through the first nine games of the 2019-20 regular season, their defense continues to prevent the team from putting multiple wins together. 

According to NBA Stats, the Wizards sport the league's sixth-best offense, scoring an impressive 110.3 points per 100 possessions, but rank 29th in defense. Compared to the other top-10 offenses in the NBA, the Wizards have the worst net rating at -4.4. 

For Washington to have a borderline elite offense and still post such a bad net rating, it speaks to just how bad their defense has been.

NBA Math charts team's standing in the league based on their offensive and defensive efficiencies and their latest graph depicts the Wizards' problems quite perfectly. 

According to the graphic, the Wizards have a better offense than teams like the Rockets, Lakers, Clippers and Raptors, who are all on track for deep playoff runs. 

However, their defense ranks below the likes of the Knicks, Hornets and Grizzlies. 

The silver lining here is the offense has been great and has more than enough weapons to keep up the production. Bradley Beal is putting up career scoring numbers despite uncharacteristically low shooting splits, Rui Hachimura continues to get better every day and Isaiah Thomas is showing more explosiveness on his drives. 

Defensive success in the NBA mostly comes from effort, so if the Wizards can turn it up a notch or two there they should be able to stay competitive with almost any team in the league.


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Marc Spears sees Rui Hachimura's impact stretching farther than on the court

Marc Spears sees Rui Hachimura's impact stretching farther than on the court

Hopes were high entering the season that Rui Hachimura could become a foundational piece for the Washington Wizards, and for the most part, he has lived up to all the hype. 

His impact on the court is undeniable for a struggling Wizards team. He's the third-leading scorer on the roster behind Bradley Beal and Thomas Bryant at 14.4 points per game just nine games into his career, and he ranks top five among NBA rookies in points, field goal shooting and rebounds. 

Hachimura is not your average rookie, though. When the Wizards drafted him ninth overall in the 2019 NBA Draft, they were certainly adding a player with high upside and translatable skills, but his popularity in his home country of Japan has arguably made a bigger imprint on his time as a professional. 

Marc Spears, senior NBA writer at The Undefeated, joined Chris Miller and Gary Carter on the Wizards Talk Podcast to discuss the rookie's sizeable impact both on and off the court. 

"I love his game, I love his aggressiveness offensively," Spears said. "I think he's a good rebounder but could be a great rebounder, and the one thing I really like is the fact that, unlike a lot of the Japanese baseball players who get annoyed by it, he's embraced the media, he's embraced the Japanese media and wants to be a voice out there.

"And I think it's making him some money off the court because he's been so open-minded to it."

Hachimura has been on Spears' radar. Spears watched him live three times while the rookie was playing at Gonzaga last season and wrote a story about how Hachimura is trying to help multi-racial kids like himself. 

At one of the games where Gonzaga played Santa Clara in late January, Spears noticed a Japanese basketball league called San Jose Zebra in attendance.

"There were kids in that program who came to that game and were basically in awe of seeing somebody that was actually like them," Spears said. 

The Wizards' rebuild hinges on players like Hachimura developing into foundational pieces, but it's clear there's a bigger picture regarding the rookie's success. 

The better he gets, the more his star will grow both in the United States and in Japan.