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."
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