Otto Porter averaged less than nine minutes during 37 regular season games. The rookie’s playing time dropped to true miniscule levels in the playoffs. Injury played a factor early, scant opportunity behind Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster played a role in Porter’s limited role late.
“One thing I saw from Otto – craaaaaazy patience,” Webster said.
That’s not the scenario most envision for a player selected third overall in the NBA Draft. After being the center of attention during his Player of the Year campaign at Georgetown the season before, the small forward largely played the role of observer with the Washington Wizards.
That’s not the same as saying he experienced a lost season, at least not from Porter’s perspective.
“A great experience. I experienced a lot this year…I learned so much,” Porter said on Monday at the Verizon Center.
Porter averaged 2.1 points during the regular season. He averaged just two minutes during the playoffs, playing in only three of Washington’s 11 games. Through it all the soft-spoken player said he absorbed information throughout the season.
“I view this as a learning year,” Porter continued. “I learned so much. Next year I can put it all in perspective and go out there and play.”
Though he didn’t receive the same on-court postseason experience as John Wall and Bradley Beal, Porter learned some of the same lessons those young guards expressed during the playoffs.
“It’s different, especially when you get close to playoff time,” Porter said of the NBA game. “That’s when everyone really plays up to speed. Just being able to get to the playoffs and watch the game, watch the other team and how they play, it was definitely eye [opening]. This is what it’s really like.
“Now that I have a little taste of it, I know how much I have to work to get to that point.”
Porter showed a little taste of his hard-working style at times during the season.
Trying to secure a playoff seed, Washington closed the regular season on a four-game winning streak. In that first victory, Porter set career-highs in points (9), rebounds (9) and minutes (26) in the Wizards’ 96-86 win at Orlando on April 11.
“There were a couple of games where I showed I belonged here,” Porter said. “A couple of games where [Wittman] trusted me where I could play and I did well. I just remember my coaches and teammates saying always be ready because you never know.”
One thing the 6-foot-8, 198-pounder knows, he must get stronger, but not bulky stronger.
“Wired stronger. Not so much big in the forearms and chest. I need to have a stronger core, legs stronger, things like that,” Porter said.
In between lifting and exercise Porter will put up shot after shot. He made tremendous strides from distance between his freshman and sophomore seasons with the Hoyas. The adjustment to the NBA 3-point line, even greater. Porter said it took some time, but he began feeling comfortable with his range as the year progressed.
Based on Porter’s own take and those of his teammates who were asked to fill in the blanks for those who rarely saw him play, we can at least concludes this much.
“He gets it,” Webster said.