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Why Otto Porter was better last season than you remember

Why Otto Porter was better last season than you remember

There is a new coach and therefore the likelihood of new schemes and ways to use the holdovers on the Washington Wizards roster. That said, there is no reason to think Otto Porter won't start opening night and beyond based on numbers from last season. 

The small forward, who started 73 of the 75 games he played last season, averaged 11.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.4 steals. Porter shot 47.3 percent from the field, 75.4 percent on free throw attempts and 36.7 percent on 3-pointers. Other than steals (2nd on Wizards, 31st in NBA), none of those stats wow the reader, though all represent career-highs. It's been said Porter's game overall doesn't always translate to the more traditional numbers because much of his work involves movement off ball and steadfastly playing something of a waiting game role while John Wall and Bradley Beal dominate possession. That's why it's good to check out other stats that help paint a bigger picture of his value and improvement.

3-point shooting percentage

It's not enough to look at the season number for any conclusion, though a 36.7 clip works. It's just that as the season went along, Porter was much, much better. Here are the top NBA 3-point shooting percentage leaders after the All-Star break (min 75 attempts):

Josh Richardson, 53.3% (48-90)

JJ Redick, 47.3 (70-148)

CJ McCollum, 47.1 (72-153)

Seth Curry, 46.3 (37-80)

Norman Powell, 45.5 (35 of 77)

Stephen Curry, 45.4 (157, 346)

Chandler Parsons, 44.7 (34 of 76)

Otto Porter, 44.7 (46 of 103)

With Wall controlling the ball and Beal likely to receive more opportunity after signing his max contract, plus Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris up front, Porter could often find himself as the fifth option offensively. In some ways, that makes him the swing player for both teams. Send a double team toward Wall with Porter's man and it's up to the former Georgetown star to make them pay. Over his final 31 games last season, Porter did just that.

Ratings (per Basketball Reference)

* In this offensive stat that estimates points per 100 possessions with a player on the court, Porter (112) finished third on the Wizards last season by co-leaders Gortat and Jared Dudley (114).

* Include the defensive side and Porter's net rating of +7 tied Dudley or second behind Gortat (+10).

* Win shares is an estimate of wins contributed by a player. Last season Porter's 5.6 ranked third behind Gortat (7.3) and John Wall (5.7). He remained third (Gortat, Nene) even when examining WS per 48 minutes.

The Wizards need more from Porter this season if they hope to contend in the Eastern Conference. His 2015-16 usage rate, an indication of a player's on-ball activity, was rather low for any type of leading man. Becoming more assertive is key to help alleviate pressure off others, but so is the idea of Porter improving on what he did last year. 

"For sure, definitely. Looking to take on more of the role," Porter said of his plans for the upcoming season. "Continue to work, continue to raise my level of play. Continue to compete at a high level...At the same time, doing whatever it takes to make sure we win."

New head coach Scott Brooks indicated at media day that minutes at small forward are up for grabs. We'll see about that.

"That's the way I want it to be," Porter said of competition. "I don't want anything handed to me."

Like Porter, Kelly Oubre Jr. was a first round pick. Unlike Porter's more cerebral game, Oubre's athleticism oozes upside, though efficiency proved illusive during his rookie season. Both small forwards will play. Based on his growth last season and the team's need for a robust 2016-17 season, it would be surprising if Porter didn't get the start from the start. That's because what he did last year in his specific role was pretty good. 

MORE WIZARDS: Will new team, new location revitalize Trey Burke's career?

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Wizards take down another contender with win over Raptors in NBA 2K simulation

Wizards take down another contender with win over Raptors in NBA 2K simulation

Not only are the Washington Wizards dominating the NBA 2K simulation, but they are also doing it against some tough competition. 

With a 70-61 win over the Toronto Raptors, Washington has now won seven of nine simulations. Other victories have come against the likes of the Bucks, Lakers and 76ers. In the 2K world, the Wizards are consistently beating the best.

In the latest win, the formula remained the same as past simulations. Behind another big night from Rui Hachimura (21 points) and some added scoring from Bradley Beal (12 points), the Wizards offense was able to put up enough to get past Toronto. Timely runs in the second half and some stingy defense left the Raptors with no chance to mount a comeback as the final seconds ticked off the clock.

Here are some key takeaways from the Wizards win.

Rui keeps on rolling 

There has been no stopping the Wizards rookie in 2K as of late. With 21 points, he now has back-to-back 20-point performances. The first-round pick of Washington in 2019 has been doing it on both ends of the floor, sparking big plays with blocks and finishing at the rim.

Hachimura also stepped behind the line and showed some range on Tuesday, hitting a smooth-looking three-pointer.

It's been a great 2K run for Hachimura overall as of late, as he also took down Donovan Mitchell in the first round of the 2K Player Tournament.

Strong finish

Though the Wizards played well throughout, it was a dominant stretch toward the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth that sealed the win.

A 16-6 run to close the third coupled with a 16-3 run early in the fourth gave Washington a comfortable lead. After taking a 42-41 lead in the third, the Raptors would never lead again.


Dominant inside, efficient outside

Similar to other simulations, the Wizards once again did a lot of their scoring inside the paint. Washington outscored the Raptors 46-32 in the paint, finishing at the rim in multiple ways consistently. 

Thomas Bryant was once again a beast down low, throwing down dunks and recording a team-high 16 rebounds in addition to 10 points to complete a double-double.

Though the real NBA has become a three-point heavy game, it hasn't quite translated to 2K. The Wizards only attempted eight shots from behind the arc on the night, a number that could sometimes come from just a few possessions in a real game. Even more peculiar, Davis Bertans didn't register a single three-point attempt. 

Yet, the Wizards made the most of the attempts, going 4-from-8 from three. Of course, Bradley Beal was in the mix.

Run for the (simulation) playoffs?

In the 2K universe, the Wizards entered Tuesday just two games behind the Brooklyn Nets for the eighth spot in the East. With a win, the virtual team may have inched even closer to the playoffs. 

Simulation-wise, Washington could not have asked for a better stretch of play.

The 2K Wizards will be back in action Friday at 7 p.m. ET against the Rockets. 

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Wizards' Troy Brown Jr. says it was scary hearing Rudy Gobert contracted coronavirus

Wizards' Troy Brown Jr. says it was scary hearing Rudy Gobert contracted coronavirus

By the time Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus and the NBA subsequently suspended the 2019-20 season, a number of teams who'd played Utah leading up to the suspension had to self-quarantine as a precaution. 

One of them was the Washington Wizards.

They suffered a 10-point loss to the Jazz 12 days before Gobert tested positive, so they urged their players to self-quarantine for several days. Fortunately for the Wizards, no player ended up tested positive for the virus.

Washington's second-year wing joined Chris Miller on the Wizards Talk Podcast and gave a window into what his reaction was to the fact he had played the Jazz leading up to Gobert's positive test. 

"I wasn't touching [Gobert]," Brown said with a laugh. "I didn't go in for no layups or anything like that. But all jokes aside though, it was one of those things that was scary because I didn't know really what to expect coming out of it."

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Heading into the league's suspension, Brown was enjoying a strong season where he showed a lot of improvement from his rookie year. He was averaging 9.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists on much better shooting splits (45.3% FG, 34.5% 3P in 19-20 vs. 41.5% FG, 31.9% 3P in 18-19). 

Brown seemed to have much more success coming off the bench with a unit in which he had more ball-handling opportunities. We'll see if he can continue to grow when basketball returns, though the 20-year-old is forced to focus on the challenges that come with isolation. 

"It definitely is a lot easier being with my family and being in my own space and being able to make decisions for myself," Brown said. "Being in D.C. was kind of hard because I didn't have anybody else there besides my dog, living by myself in quarantine. I feel like it's those people that are struggling with the quarantine stuff being isolated by themselves because you don't really know what to do."

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