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Morning tip: Wizards mold Otto Porter into elite 3-point shooter

Morning tip: Wizards mold Otto Porter into elite 3-point shooter

To say that Otto Porter is having a career season for the Wizards by just reading off his statistics doesn't do him justice. It's more than that for the small forward who surely will be in the running for the NBA's Most Improved Player.

Porter, who is averaging career-highs of 14.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 54% overall shooting and 45.8% from three, has been on a tear as the Wizards (23-19) have won 7 of 8 games heading into tonight's matchup at the Detroit Pistons. 

A win would give the Wizards a 2-0 series edge two days after beating the New York Knicks to go up 2-0.

Porter set a career-high with six made three-point shots in a home win over the Memphis Grizzlies and matched it vs. the Knicks in Thursday's game. 

"Otto is developing to that deadly three-point shooter that we know that he can be and he’s trusting it," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "He’s not cutting when he doesn’t have to. That’s something we’ve been telling him all season long with our staff. It’s paying off. His spacing allows Brad (Beal) and it allows John (Wall) to get into the lane because (defenders) have to stay at home. ...We need to get more shots for him at that position."

Porter has been used more as a "stretch" four this season under Brooks, too, exploiting the backup fours for other teams when the Wizards go to a small-ball lineup. 

He's still moving well without the ball, making himself available for slip passes for high-percentage looks at the rim. But Brooks has emphasized spacing since training camp and how Porter has to be patient and not cut to the basket (bringing a defender with him) for the sake of cutting.

Porter has six double-doubles. That's one more in his previous three NBA seasons. 

It's an about-face from how Porter began. He failed to make a three in the first four games, missing all nine. Now he has made three or more three-pointers 14 times through 42 games. In the previous three seasons, he did that just 13 times in 186 games.

"The three-point ball is powerful," Brooks said. "It seems like whenever we make more we always seem to win. It’s about good shots."

MORE WIZARDS: Wizards, Knicks both benefit from late-game no-calls

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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

The 2018 NBA offseason in just three weeks has become one of the wildest summers in the league's history between LeBron James signing with the Lakers, and all the characters that followed him, to DeMarcus Cousins surprising everyone to sign with the Golden State Warriors, to Kawhi Leonard getting traded to the Raptors.

As crazy as it all has been, two teams in the Eastern Conference stand out for so far doing very little, either by choice or circumstance. The Celtics and Sixers, the two teams most see as the favorites in the East, appear at least so far to be running it back with the same group of players.

This appears to be the Celtics' intention. After overhauling their roster last summer, they clearly see an opportunity to take a step forward as-is. Boston was one win away from the NBA Finals and will return Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving from injury. With James gone to the West, they can improve significanly just by keeping it all together.

Boston re-signed Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes. Their biggest addition this summer so far has been their first round pick, Robert Williams.

The Sixers, unlike the Celtics, didn't appear to plan on doing it this way. They wanted James and missed out. They reportedly had interest in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, but both went elsewhere. There are no stars left to sign in free agency and the trade market may be drying up.

Philly made some minor moves like trades for Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala. They may also have a deal for Kyle Korver in the works. They also had two first round picks in Zhaire Smith and Landry Shamet.

There's a chance the Sixers got better than people think, as many of the moves they made seem smart. But they didn't reel in a big fish and will probably come back for the 2018-19 season with a team very similar to the one that made the second round of the playoffs this spring.

The fact the Celtics and Sixers may stand pat is probably a good thing for the rest of the East. Both teams may improve naturally if they are healthier and if their young players continue to ascend. But neither made a game-changing addition, one that would solidify either as an unstoppable superteam in the conference. 

The West is overloaded with title contenders and All-NBA players. The East, meanwhile, is much more open and it may end up staying that way mainly because Boston and Philly have been quiet so far this summer.

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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?