Idling in the bowels of Verizon Center on Friday, Otto Porter Jr. looked ready to take his career in a new direction. Perhaps literally so.
Hanging from his slender 6-foot-8 frame was a blue and white Washington Wizards practice jersey, still damp from the 90-minute workout that he went through Friday under the close supervision of Wizards front-office officials. On his feet were white-and-blue sneakers, the laces undone and a Georgetown logo adorning the tongue.
“It was cool but a little different,” the Hoyas all-American told the person on the other end of the phone. “I’ve been here before but I’d never made that left turn before,” past the Georgetown locker room and down the hall.
Whether Porter will be making the slightly longer walk to the Wizards locker room on a permanent basis will be determined June 27 at the NBA draft. Porter’s workout on Friday with Washington, which holds the No. 3 pick, was the first of three sessions he will undergo prior to the draft. Next week, the versatile forward is expected to work out with Cleveland and Orlando, which hold the Nos. 1 and 2 picks, respectively.
Joining Porter on the practice court Friday were forwards Ryan Evans (Wisconsin), Jackie Carmichael (Illinois State) and Viktor Gaddefors (Sweden) as well as guards Kevin Dillard (Dayton) and Bruce Massey (Middle Tennessee), who played locally at Seneca Valley High.
During the portion of the workout open to reporters, Porter engaged in a shooting drill with Wizards assistant Sam Cassell, dribbling off a high screen before attempting a jumper from top of the key. The 20-year-old then went one-on-one in the post with Evans and Carmichael, scoring once and making a defensive stop.
Along with his local ties, the intrigue surrounding Porter stems from his diverse play and high motor, attributes that could potentially mesh well with Washington’s back court in John Wall and Bradley Beal.
“I feel like my versatility will translate very well in the NBA, being the person that rebounds, gets up the floor and looks to make plays,” Porter said following his workout. “I feel like [the Wizards] would be getting a decent guy that’s coming in, just being down to the earth and ready to work hard and do anything for the team.”
Porter averaged 16.2 points and 7.5 rebounds last season at Georgetown, earning Big East player of the year honors and becoming the program’s first consensus first-team All-American since Allen Iverson. In preparation for the next level, Porter said he’s talked with former Hoyas Jeff Green, Roy Hibbert and Greg Monroe in addition to working with a personal trainer to improve his ballhandling and shooting.
“Georgetown did a terrific job of preparing me,” Porter said of his two seasons as a Hoya. “Reading the game and how it is. … [Playing defense in the post] is something we had to do, whether it’s against bigger guys or quicker guys. I was able to hold my own in the post this year.”
Porter’s lanky build and defensive ability has led several scouts to draw comparisons with Memphis Grizzlies forward Tayshaun Prince. While Porter said he plans to tread his own path as an NBA player, he acknowledged that his versatile skill set would suit the Wizards’ style of play.
Wall “is a pass-first guard. He gets in the paint and creates for others and I definitely see him creating for me and others to get wide-open looks,” Porter said. “I have a fan base here. I’m very comfortable here. … I think it would be a good fit.”