Porter has become so good at making it about the team, in fact, that JTIII’s biggest frustration in coaching Porter the past couple of years is getting Porter to understand it’s okay to make it about Otto. He’s almost selfless to a fault.
In many ways his quick ascension is a great testament to Thompson, who should be the Big East coach of the year. With Greg Monroe leaving after two seasons and now Porter certain to follow, Georgetown is viewed again as a bona fide apprenticeship for the NBA.
The idea that the Princeton offense was going to slow the growth of one-on-one isolation players headed to the I-Got-Mines, sneaker-war universe turned out to be a false notion, no?
Jeff Green, Roy Hibbert and Monroe are all doing fine at the next level, dunk you very much.
But the reality is hardly anyone NBA-good stays in college for four years anymore, and now it’s Porter’s turn to make the leap.
I’m going to miss his uncanny knowledge of the game for such a young player. He posts up when he knows he has a tiny guard on him. He takes bigger men beyond the perimeter, economically using the three-point arc instead of exploiting it for personal gain. The way he slows down the game in his mind is unlike so many look-at-me crossover kids, who dribble around purposeless, like chickens without heads.
Porter is an old basketball soul, from somewhere around 1960, trapped in a 2013 Nike Summer Jam universe. He has some of Scottie Pippen’s elongated arms, a little of George Gervin’s smooth and a bit of John Havlicek’s clutch.
And now he’s all but gone — headed for the NBA, where K.D., LeBron and Kobe will soon have to contend with O.P., the new-jack cat with the ancient game.
“I’ve seen that mentioned once or twice but no one has just told me that,” he said. “Actually, I do have an old-school game.”
“Do you like hearing that?” he is asked.
“Most definitely. I love it.”
I have no idea if he will be a better pro than, say, Tayshaun Prince or Andre Iguodala. But I know good basketball players when I see them, who understand axioms like “Good things happen when you cut to the basket,” and “The backboard is your friend.” And Otto Porter is of the finest caliber of well-rounded young player I’ve seen in person, and that includes Jason Kidd lighting up the Oakland Coliseum when he was 15.
He’s not merely a credit to Georgetown, JTIII or Otto Porter Sr. He’s not just a reminder that unspoiled kids from the nooks and crannies of the country can still make it big if they work hard enough to develop their game.
Porter is a credit to the very soul of what the game still can be: five parts functioning as one, the sublime choreography of teamwork that all starts when the best player gives only to the good of the group.
For previous columns by Mike Wise, go to washingtonpost.com/wise.