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Morning tip: Scouting reports on Otto Porter start to change

Morning tip: Scouting reports on Otto Porter start to change

The true test in Otto Porter's breakout season is here, and if maximizing his earning potential in free agency this summer is of any importance he has to respond to how teams will begin defending him differently to minmize his impact.

The New York Knicks never will be mistaken for being capable defensively, but even they were disciplined enough to prevent the 6-8 small forward from hurting them.

"He got some looks. Definitely teams are scouting Otto different. They're staying at home," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said after Porter's 10 points in a 117-101 victory in which he failed to make at least one three-pointer for the first time in nine games. "He’s the best, or one of the best three-point shooters in the league. So they’re not going to give him a lot of open looks. Some nights he’s not going to have the looks like he’s going to have other nights, but I thought he just stayed with it, ran his routes, got to the spots and then John (Wall) did a good job of finding him in the third quarter."

Porter, who shoots an NBA-leading 46.2% from three, went scoreless in the first half. But the flip side of it is Bradley Beal was able to inflict damage with a game-high 28 points on 18 shots in just 31 minutes. Markieff Morris had 24 points off just 14 shots and 10 rebounds.  

Carmelo Anthony took away Porter's first look from deep with a strong close out in the first quarter. Towards the end of the period, Wall floated a pass to him over an area screen from Marcin Gortat and Porter was closed out by center Kyle O'Quinn. 

Porter made the correct read, however, because that opened up Gortat on the dive to the basket for a layup. He earned the assist en route to Gortat finishing 7-for-7 shooting. It's another example of how a defense is intent on taking away an aspect of the game but being vulnerable elsewhere.

What has separated Beal is that he faces even more aggressive coverages from defenses and is not only scoring 20-plus points but creating for others and generating "hockey" assists by moving the ball out of traffic to find shooters like Porter.

"A lot of teams usually just help off Otto's side," Wall said. "They're not helping off his side as much. But he does a great job of still cutting to the basket, then getting out in transition. Keef and March and Jason (Smith) and all those guys set good screens and the weakside has to help, pick-and-choose what you're going to give up. Then he does a great job of attacking the basket off the slot."

The mid-range game was there for Porter in the third quarter where he did all of his scoring. He went back to being the reliable, steady Porter who did a lot of other small things but nothing dramatic. Porter had six rebounds and three assists 

[RELATED: 'Mentally weak' label no longer applies to Wizards]

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Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards team president Ernie Grunfeld has stayed relatively busy this summer crafting his new-look lineup for the 2018-19 season. 

One of the team's key additions, Dwight Howard, is set to be introduced as a member of the Wizards on Monday. 

NBC Sports Washington will air the introductory press conference live at 1 p.m. while also streaming it online.  

Ernie Grunfeld and head coach Scott Brooks are both expected to be in attendance. 

The 32-year-old big man is coming off a 2017-18 season with the Charlotte Hornets in which he averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. 

Since leaving the Orlando Magic after eight seasons in 2011, Howard has played for four different teams in the last six years. 

Howard is an eight-time all-star and a three-time defensive player of the year. 

 

RELATED LINKS: 

John Wall's take on Dwight Howard 

Wizards make Dwight Howard free agent signing official 

By the numbers: Is new Wizards center Dwight Howard still in his NBA prime? 

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Carmelo Anthony traded to Hawks in three-team deal, but not likely to stay

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Carmelo Anthony traded to Hawks in three-team deal, but not likely to stay

The stage has been set for Carmelo Anthony to hit free agency, as the 10-time All-Star was traded to the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday in a three-team deal, one that will lead to a subsequent buyout of his contract. ESPN first reported the news and noted that the Rockets are the favorites to sign him.

The full deal sends Dennis Schroder from the Hawks to the Thunder in exchange for Anthony and a protected first-round pick, and sends Mike Muscala from Atlanta to Philly. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot will go to the Thunder from Philly and Justin Anderson will go from the Sixers to the Hawks.

That's a complicated deal, but it ultimately frees Anthony up to choose a new team. He was set to make $27.9 million from the Thunder next season, but the Hawks are footing the bill to let him walk.

Anthony's skills have declined now that he's 34 years old. Last season, he averaged 16.2 points on 40.4 percent shooting, way down from the 22.4 points he averaged the season before with the Knicks.

Still, Anthony could help a team looking for a scoring punch and the Rockets would like some more help in their quest to take down the Warriors. If he signs there, he will join friend Chris Paul and the 2017-18 MVP, James Harden. 

Houston has been the logical landing spot for Anthony ever since news broke that the Thunder were looking for a way out of his contract. If he doesn't go there, perhaps the Lakers would make sense. LeBron James is going to need a lot more help than the roster he currently has around him to make some noise in the crowded Western Conference.

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