All of Otto Porter's numbers post-All-Star break have taken a dip, especially his accuracy from three-point range for the Wizards.
The assumption -- and typical explanations -- made are to be expected at this time of year. Porter has played in 71 games and is averaging a career-high 33.6 minutes therefore he's tired.
He very well could be. Last season, he complained to John Wall about feeling worn down two months into an 82-game season.
But to dumb down Porter's struggles to something that every starter in the NBA experiences ignores the more nuanced reasons for the dip in his play. He's a priority on the scouting reports, and he's not being left open for clean threes and he's being closed out and forced to put the ball on the floor to finish which isn't a strength of his game.
To match apples with apples, this is a look at how the same team covered Porter early in the season vs. how they reacted to him later when he elevated himself as the most accurate three-point shooter in the league:
Porter had all kinds of open space back in November, when the Celtics relied on late closeouts on recovery to contest him on the three-point look (3 of 5). That didn't work out too well as Porter set a career-high with 34 points and grabbed 14 rebounds because he was able to swoop in unmarked to grab extra possessions.
Now compare that coverage to what he saw earlier this week from Jae Crowder. Before he catches the ball the defense shifts towards him. Crowder fights through a flare screen and takes away his three-point look. Teams want to make Porter put it on the floor and finish off the dribble. Even if he makes it, they take away the three and force a two-point attempt. Porter had just eight points and missed all three of his long balls.
When Porrter is off the ball, he doesn't always have the same real estate to roam, find a soft spot in the defense to catch and shoot. This is what a frame of how he was defended by Crowder even when not on the ball. The defender is staying home more often.
These shifts in coverage were happening before mid-February. It's just that the results are more pronounced now.
Porter averaged 15.6 points on 53.4% field-goal shooting, including 46.6% from three, in 55 appearances before the break.
Since then, he's at 11.8 points on 46.5% shooting, including 35% from long range, in 16 games. He has gone scoreless in a game and scored just two points in another.
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