Needless to say, this hasn’t been the rookie season of Otto Porter’s dreams: scant playing time, awkward mistakes, fan laments, and so on. But Wednesday night was a good one. The Wizards clinched a playoff spot, fans chanted Porter’s name, he scored a career-high nine points, and he earned repeated loud cheers from the crowd.
And after the game?
“Obviously he was so excited that he actually forgot about his duties,” Marcin Gortat joked on ESPN 980’s Inside the Locker Room. “We walked into the locker room, and he totally forgot to give a towel to the veterans. He went straight to the showers. He just took a straight shower.
“And we all laughed, ‘Okay, this is how it is? You drop nine points in five minutes and all of a sudden you [forget your role]? It’s over. The kid lost his mind already.’
“Obviously we were just joking around and laughing,” Gortat went on. “He’s a great guy, great kid, and he’s going to be a very good player in this league. I love the guy that’s putting the extra effort to get better; I’m definitely going to do everything that’s necessary to help.”
And, locker room towels aside, Gortat sounds like a pretty big Porter booster
“The one thing I can tell you, the guys is extremely focused in everything he [does],” Gortat said. “He’s lifting every day, he’s with me in the weight room early, he’s getting extra shots, he’s working on his game. He’s not complaining, he’s focused on everything he does. And seriously, I’m a big fan of this guy. This kid, he’s going to be huge. He’s going to be huge for our team in the future.”
ANOTHER NUMBER SWITCH
Everyone knows about DeSean Jackson’s new number, but there was also another switch this week.
Switching back to #8 so @AndreRoberts can wear #12 Really appreciate his donation to my youth football camp— Kirk Cousins (@KirkCousins8) April 4, 2014
D HALL’S NEW T-SHIRTS
Be on the lookout for these new shirts. About to drop soon. Let me know which lettering you like best? pic.twitter.com/qUXf52lZIv— DeAngelo Hall (@DeAngeloHall23) April 4, 2014
ON OVECHKIN AND THE CAPTAINCY
Sports Illustrated’s Allan Muir with a brutal takedown of the Caps’ captain and his leadership. Excerpt:
[The team’s] culture needs a reboot.
And that starts with ripping the C off the sweater of captain Alex Ovechkin.
There are 70 million reasons why that’s the tough call — one for every dollar that remains on the contract that pays him $10 million per year through the 2020-21 season — not to mention that embarrassing your franchise player is a seriously risky move.
But there is one very compelling reason why the Capitals have to do it anyway. For all his charisma and once-in-a-generation scoring touch, Ovechkin has shown time and again that he’s just not cut out for the role of team leader.
WHOM WILL THE WIZARDS PLAY?
Numbers man Kevin Broom breaks down the Eastern Conference playoff race and comes to this conclusion: The Wizards are most likely to finish sixth and face the Raptors in the first round. More interestingly, he also has their odds against every possible opponent. They have a 56 percent chance of beating the Nets in a seven-game series, a 42 percent chance of beating the Bulls, a 32 percent chance of beating the Raptors and a 21 percent chance of beating the Pacers. Of the most likely scenarios, the team would much rather face Chicago than Toronto.
ZIMMERMAN LEAVES HARPER HANGING
Great celebratory moment in the Nats’ dugout on Thursday. See more at Nats Enquirer.
WHAT TO WATCH TODAY
The Wizards are in New York at 7:30 on Comcast SportsNet. The Caps are in New Jersey at 7 on CSN+. The Nats host the Braves at 1:05 on WUSA and MASN. I’m already tired. All radio and TV listings are here.