The 2013 NBA draft was expected to be low on immediate impact players, and that has played out to be an accurate assessment through the first 2½ months of the regular season. Philadelphia 76ers point guard Michael Carter-Williams, former DeMatha star and Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo and Utah Jazz point guard Trey Burke are the only rookies averaging more than 25 minutes and at least nine points per game.
Wizards rookie forward Otto Porter Jr., the third overall pick from Georgetown, has been used sparingly while backing up two veterans at his position and recovering from a hip injury that sidelined him for nearly three months. Porter admitted that he keeps track of his fellow rookies and takes note of the players who have been given opportunities – but also where they are in the standings.
“I knew the team was on the rise, getting to .500, going above that and getting to the playoffs,” Porter said of the Wizards. Watching other rookies get significant minutes “does make you hungry because they’re out there playing and I’m not. I’m going through things this year and some guys come into a situation where they have to play, for their team to be any kind of success. So it does depend. It is [hard], but my coaches are sticking with me. They are teaching me every day what I need to do to make me that much more ready when I’m out there.”
Porter doesn’t know when or if he will get the chance to make a significant contribution for the Wizards, especially with Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster both playing well. But he is focused on making sure that he is ready whenever Coach Randy Wittman puts him on the floor.
“I try to get here early, every day to get up shots, things like that. Getting some kind of conditioning in, because you never know when your card might be pulled,” Porter said. “Even though I might not be playing much right now. I still want to be in get in good enough shape where I might have to play 30 minutes, you never know. So I’ve been doing that and trying to stay afterward to get up shots.”
Porter has also stuck to a weightlifting program in an effort to build up some strength on his slight frame. Teammate Marcin Gortat has encouraged Porter to join him in the weight room. “Let him tell it, I’m in it more than he is,” Porter said with a laugh. “Because I know that’s something I have to work on, it’s not going to just come over night. It has to be an everyday thing for me. I have no problem with that. I’m in there every day.”
A look at the top 11 picks in last year’s draft.
1. Anthony Bennett, Cleveland
2.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 59.1% FT
Made just 1 of 21 FG attempts over his first seven games, is in the running for worst No. 1 pick ever (yes, worse than Kwame Brown).
2. Victor Oladipo, Orlando
13.7 ppg, 3.6 apg
DeMatha product has been solid top 10 pick, curbing his turnovers and reaching double-digit scoring in seven straight games.
3. Otto Porter Jr., Washington
1.9 ppg, 1.6 rpg
Missed training camp and the first 18 games of the season with a hip injury and has yet to catch up. Has barely seen the court of late.
4. Cody Zeller, Charlotte
5.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg
Seven-footer is averaging 16.9 minutes per game but is shooting just 37.3 percent from the field.
5. Alex Len, Phoenix
1.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg
Maryland product has played in only 10 games; most notable moment was his fight with Lakers’ Nick Young on Wednesday.
6. Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia
(pick traded by New Orleans)
Has yet to play this season as he rehabs his torn ACL. Was cleared for “limited on-court work” on Wednesday.
7. Ben McLemore, Sacramento
7.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg
Minutes have decreased this month, and so has his production: He has made just 8 of 35 shots and averaged 3.3 ppg in 2014.
8. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Detroit
7.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg
After slow start, shooting guard has reached double digits in scoring in four of his past six games, scoring career-high 17 vs. Wizards on Dec. 30.
9. Trey Burke, Utah
(pick traded by Minnesota)
13.6 ppg, 5.6 apg
After breaking a finger and missing the first 12 games, point guard has excelled, scoring 30 points vs. Orlando on Dec. 18.
10. C.J. McCollum, Portland
(pick traded by Charlotte)
5.3 ppg, 1.7 rpg
Broke his left foot in a preseason practice and has played in only three games. Scored 10 points vs. Celtics on Saturday.
11. Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia
17.6 ppg, 7.0 apg
Syracuse product has had an immediate impact, is the 76ers’ second-leading scorer. He’s also second in the NBA in steals per game (2.6).