Washington Wizards: Otto Porter on course to earning max contract

Nov 9, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) dunks the ball against the Boston Celtics during the first half at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 9, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) dunks the ball against the Boston Celtics during the first half at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /

Washington Wizards Otto Porter Jr. is off to an extraordinary start in the fourth and final season of his rookie contract

The Washington Wizards drafted Otto Porter Jr. from Georgetown University with the third overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft with hopes of a player that can contribute immediately.

Three years later, Porter is in the midst of his final year of his rookie contract after not receiving a contract extension before the October 31 deadline.

Porter provided the Wizards with another stellar performance Monday night scoring a game-high 32 points, just two points away from matching his career-best 34 points set earlier this season. The Georgetown product shot an incredible 72 percent from the field (13-18) along with 55 percent from three-point range (5-9). Just in the last five games, Porter is averaging 19.4 points, six rebounds, and shooting 61.8 percent including 53.3 percent from three-point range.

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Along with Porter’s improved scoring ability, the swingman’s 7.1 rebounds per game, this season is much enhanced and is three rebounds more than his career average of 4.1. He’s already surpassed his 2015-16 season total of five double-doubles with six already this season.

Thirty-one games into the 2016-17 season, Porter is averaging 14.4 points per game with 6.9 rebounds and a field goal percentage of 55 percent. On November 9th, Porter set a new career-high, scoring 34 points and matched a career-best 14 rebounds in an 118-93 win over the Boston Celtics. Porter’s 14.9 points per game during November was a monthly career-best for the 23-year-old from Georgetown.

When comparing other players from his rookie class, it’s fair to say that Porter, drafted third overall, developed a bit slower than the likes of Victor Oladipo, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and C.J. McCollum. Following a trade that sent the Maryland native to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Oladipo earned himself a four-year extension worth $84 million in October, just days before the start of the regular season. Antetokounmpo, an evolving NBA superstar, earned the biggest payday of all the 2013 draftees as he inked a four-year, $100 million extension during this past offseason.

One reason Porter didn’t immediately turn heads when entering the NBA is due to a hip injury that caused him to miss his first NBA training camp and preseason. Even worse, Porter was inactive for the entire month of November and played in just 37 games his rookie season, averaging just 8.6 minutes per game.

In his second year, Porter played in 74 games, averaging 19.4 minutes off the bench, but played as a reserve player behind veteran forward Paul Pierce. However, due to team injuries, Porter was inserted into the starting lineup 13 times that season and averaged 10.2 points as a starter.

Porter became a pivotal starter last season, starting in 73 of 75 games and averaged a substantial 30.3 minutes, an increase of 10.9 minutes from the previous season. As expected, his number catapulted in just about every major category. Take a look at the table below, the figures in bold represent an increase from the previous year.

Per Game Table

Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table

Now in a contract year, Porter’s improved play this season has sparked conversations on whether the St. Louis native is in line to receive a max contract this summer. ESPN Senior Writer Zach Lowe went to Twitter to proclaim that two front office executives predicted Porter is eventually going to get a max contract.

It’s safe to say that Porter is in the midst of a breakout season, putting up new career numbers each week. Not only is Porter leading the Wizards in certain statistical categories but also in the NBA. Porter leads all NBA small forwards in field goal percentage (54.8%) and sixth best three-point percentage (43.5%) in the Eastern Conference.

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If Porter sustains his impressive play throughout the season, expect the Wizards to deliver a max contract by this summer. If not the Washington Wizards, then another NBA team will have no problem providing the budding superstar with a max deal.