Wizards

Wizards

On the list of problems for the Wizards through their dreadful 1-5 start, at the top in bold, circled and struck through with a highlighter are their defense and their rebounding. Both are at the bottom of the NBA. In a year in which teams are scoring more than ever so far, the Wizards have been victimized more than any other.

But it's hard to overlook the struggles of one of their best players, particularly on the offensive end.

Though Otto Porter Jr.'s lack of scoring hasn't necessarily cost them wins, it has been one of the most confusing parts of the Wizards' first six games so far.

Porter, 25, is averaging just 9.8 points while shooting 41.1 percent from the field and 21.7 percent from three. He had six points and shot 3-for-9 against the Clippers on Sunday night. On Friday against the Kings, he had five points and shot 2-for-6.

Porter scoring just 11 points combined in a two-game stretch is actually not all that rare for him. Last season alone, he was held to single-digit scoring totals in back-to-back games four different times. He was limited to single-digits in three straight games from late December into early January.

Porter has faded out of the offense in the past, but always found other ways to contribute. Early on this season, however, he has been part of the problem both on defense and in the rebounding department, which is rare for him.

 

When John Wall and Bradley Beal called out their teammates after Friday's loss to the Kings, it sounded like they were talking about Porter, among others.

One thing stands out when looking through Porter's game logs for the 2017-18 season as it pertains to his worst scoring stretches. On several occasions, they either coincided directly or occurred right before a brief injury absence. 

If Porter is bothered by something, even minor, it would explain why he's not running the floor enough for head coach Scott Brooks' liking. 

Regardless, Porter has to find a way to get back to playing his game on offense. So far, his shot selection has been a bit different than usual.

The Wizards want to turn long-two attempts into threes, so Porter is shooting a career-low in attempts from 16 feet to the three-point line. Though shots from that area are not efficient, Porter shot 52.5 percent from that range last season, his highest clip in any spot beyond three feet. Whether they are smart shots or not, Porter is comfortable there.

Porter is also not attempting or making as many corner threes. This season, 26.1 percent of his three attempts are coming from the corner, and he's making 16.7 percent of them. For his career, 32.7 percent of his three-point shots have come from the corner and he shoots 39.7 percent from that range. Last year, he knocked down 45.6 percent of those attempts.

Again, scoring hasn't been the Wizards' biggest problem. But having their third scoring option play up to his capabilities would go a long way in helping them take control of games. The Wizards are at their best when Porter is carrying his weight and spreading the floor.

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