U.S. Markets close in 4 hrs 9 mins

Otto Porter is earning his max money, and the Wolves found out the hard way

Otto Porter Jr. has become invaluable to the Wizards. (AP)

When news came down that John Wall would miss at least two weeks with a left knee injury, Washington Wizards coach Scott Brooks knew how much they needed Otto Porter Jr. to stem the tide of a season that was already showing signs of slipping from last year’s promising playoff run.

[Follow Ball Don’t Lie on social media: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Tumblr]

“I think guys are ready to play bigger roles,” Brooks told reporters over the weekend, via The Washington Post. “It’s not going to be all on Otto, but I think Otto has the ability to play a bigger role.”

For one night, at least, Porter played the biggest of roles, draining a last-minute jumper that proved to be the game-winner in Washington’s 92-89 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night:

Porter’s dagger over a hard-charging Karl-Anthony Towns gave him a game-high 22 points. He added eight rebounds and proved to be the best player on the floor in the second half of a nail-biting game that also featured budding stars Towns, Jimmy Butler, Andrew Wiggins and teammate Bradley Beal.

That effort followed a 24-point, 10-rebound double-double in Washington’s first game of this stretch without Wall — a 108-105 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers after which the Wizards conceded they should’ve fed Porter more often. “Down the stretch,” Beal said, “we definitely got to look at him more.”

That sentiment is probably more true than the Wizards even realize. They’ve got one of the league’s most efficient players on their roster, and they’re using him less often than the Indiana Pacers are using ex-Wizards reserve Bojan Bogdanovic this season. It’s time to take this Otto out of the garage.

(Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

Porter’s recent performances pushed his averages to career highs of 16.3 points and 7.3 rebounds, to go along with 1.6 steals and 1.5 assists in just 33.3 minutes per game. He’s shooting 53.9 percent from the field and a whopping 48.7 percent on 4.1 3-point attempts per game for a healthy true shooting percentage of 64 — also a career high and one of the best marks of any quick forward playing more than 30 minutes a night, just a hair below LeBron James (65.7 percent) and Kevin Durant (64.7).

And that doesn’t even begin to describe Porter’s contributions to the Wizards. With him on the floor, Washington’s offense and defense operate at top-five NBA levels per 100 possessions, scoring 108 and allowing 100.6 points, respectively, for a net rating of plus-7.4 — the highest such mark of any regular rotational player on the team. When Porter goes to the bench, the Wizards run the NBA equivalent of a bottom-10 offense (103.6 points scored per 100 possessions) and the worst defense in the league (109.3 points allowed per 100) for a minus-5.7 net rating — lower than when any other Wiz regular sits.

Add it all up, and the Wizards are 13.1 points per 100 possessions better with Porter in the fold. That’s definitely a better on/off rating than either Wall (10.6) or Beal (9.9) and slightly closer to the difference someone like Milwaukee Bucks sensation and MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo (14.7) is making.

Can Porter do everything Antetokounmpo can on a basketball court? No, especially as a playmaker, but he’s also long and athletic and does a lot of things you don’t always notice when watching the Wizards. Porter shows up on the front page of NBA.com’s hustle stats page for both deflections and loose balls recovered, and he’s in the league’s top 25th percentile of total contested shots.

Take this play, for example, when the Wolves were clinging to a three-point lead that was once 13 and looking to deliver their knockout punch. Porter picked up Wiggins on the right arc, fought through a Taj Gibson screen to force a Wiggins pass as the shot clock wound down, and then covered 20 feet in the blink of an eye to challenge a 3-pointer from Butler, who Beal and Kelly Oubre Jr. completely lost:

You might find this hard to believe, but not many guys can guard Wiggins and Butler on the same play. The Wizards followed Butler’s miss with a Mike Scott 3-pointer on the other end that tied the game for the first time since midway through the second quarter. Porter finished plus-11 in the second half of a game Washington trailed by eight at the break and won by three in the final minute. Not bad.

Drafted third overall in 2013, Porter has improved drastically each year. His 48.7 percent shooting from three is tied with Blazers guard C.J. McCollum for the league’s best clip among players attempting at least four threes per game, he’s a top-five rebounder for his position, and he’s generally disruptive on defense.

And he’s still only 24 years old. It is for these reasons that we ranked him the top unsung hero in our “NBA 25 Under 25” series, why the Brooklyn Nets offered Porter a $106.5 million max contract in free agency and why the Wizards had little choice but to match. Six weeks into that contract, he’s been well worth the investment, and given his history, it’s hard to imagine he can’t be even more valuable.

The Wizards certainly understand that, and that’s why they’re asking more out of him without Wall.

– – – – – – –

Ben Rohrbach is a contributor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

More from Yahoo Sports:
NFL RB proves school counselor wrong, collects on bet
Conor McGregor’s fighting days may be over
Troubled NFL star: I made $10K a month selling weed
Pat Forde: The big takeaway from latest playoff rankings

  • Has Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (EPD) Outpaced Other Oils-Energy Stocks This Year?

    Has Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (EPD) Outpaced Other Oils-Energy Stocks This Year?

    Enterprise Products Partners L.P. is a member of our Oils-Energy group, which includes 331 different companies and currently sits at #2 in the Zacks Sector Rank. The Zacks Sector Rank gauges the strength of our 16 individual sector groups by measuring the average Zacks Rank of the individual stocks within the groups. The Zacks Rank is a successful stock-picking model that emphasizes earnings estimates and estimate revisions.

  • Here’s why you shouldn’t retire super early — even if you can

    Here’s why you shouldn’t retire super early — even if you can

    Despite the many perks of early retirement — waking up whenever you want, for example — it wasn’t the easiest decision. Earnings tend to peak around 48 for men and about 39 for women, according to an analysis by PayScale.

  • Business

    Jim Cramer Shares His Thoughts On Amarin, AT&T, McDonald's And More

    On CNBC's "Mad Money Lightning Round", Jim Cramer said Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: ARWR) is a great speculative stock. Cramer is willing to endorse AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), but he thinks Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) offers more safety

  • What happens if you win Mega Millions' $970M jackpot?
    Associated Press

    What happens if you win Mega Millions' $970M jackpot?

    Despite the terrible odds — one in 302.5 million for those keeping score at home — someone will eventually match all six numbers and win the Mega Millions jackpot, which now stands at $970 million. Here are some answers for someone holding that prized lottery ticket for what would be the second-largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history. Lottery officials recommend winners take a deep breath, put their winning ticket in a safe spot and consult with a reputable financial planner before popping over to the lottery headquarters.

  • Why Yandex N.V. Stock Plunged Today
    Motley Fool

    Why Yandex N.V. Stock Plunged Today

    What happened Shares of Yandex N.V. (NASDAQ: YNDX) dropped 17.8% on Thursday following reports that Russia's state-owned Sberbank may take a controlling stake in the country's leading internet search company. More specifically, according to sources speaking

  • Tesla unveils 'lower-cost' Model 3
    Yahoo Finance Video

    Tesla unveils 'lower-cost' Model 3

    Elon Musk rolled out what he called the "lower-cost, mid-range" Model 3, on Twitter. Yahoo Finance's Alexis Christoforous, Rick Newman and Dan Roberts break down the details.

  • Palo Alto Networks Stock Upgraded: What You Need to Know
    Motley Fool

    Palo Alto Networks Stock Upgraded: What You Need to Know

    Cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks (NYSE: PANW) won a big upgrade today when analysts at R.W. Baird announced they're assuming coverage of the stock and raising their price target to $250 a share. If they're right about that, Palo Alto Networks is worth more than 23% more than it currently costs. Many companies offer cybersecurity services, but which one is the best to invest in?

  • Finance

    YY Stock Has Become a Bargain, But Don’t But It Yet!

    YY Inc. (NASDAQ:YY) continues to fall, even as the Chinese, video-based social media company increases its profits. The YY stock price has now dropped by more than 55% since achieving its 52-week high in January. The possible geopolitical and industry risk may deter investors from buying YY stock.

  • It’s a ‘Hold’ for Nokia: A Look at Analyst Recommendations
    Market Realist

    It’s a ‘Hold’ for Nokia: A Look at Analyst Recommendations

    Nokia in Q3 2018: Why Analysts Are Estimating Lower (Continued from Prior Part) Stock up 23% in 2018 Nokia (NOK) stock fell 32% in 2016 and traded flat in 2017. Since the start of 2018, however, it has risen ~23%. It has fallen 5% in the last 12 months

  • Ford CEO seeks to rally dealers as shares sink to new low

    Ford CEO seeks to rally dealers as shares sink to new low

    With Ford Motor Co's stock at nearly a nine-year low and the company squeezed by tariffs and trade tensions, Chief Executive Jim Hackett sought to restore confidence among dealers gathered in Las Vegas this week, days ahead of announcing the automaker's third-quarter results. In closed-door meetings with members of Ford's national dealer network, Hackett and other top Ford executives showed off future versions of the popular Explorer and Escape SUVs, as well as new the Ranger mid-sized pickup truck and an unnamed smaller off-road utility vehicle, attendees said. Ford has said it will refresh 75 percent of its North American lineup over the next two years.

  • What to Watch When Apple Reports Earnings on Nov. 1
    Motley Fool

    What to Watch When Apple Reports Earnings on Nov. 1

    While investors should pay attention to these numbers, it's important to remember that Apple's Q4 ended on Sept. 29, meaning the results incorporate only nine days of iPhone XS and XS Max sales and no iPhone XR sales. Apple's high-end iPhone XS and XS Max devices will be available throughout the entirety of the quarter, but the lower-end iPhone XR, the device that's expected to be the most popular model in the lineup, won't be available in stores until Oct. 26, with preorders starting on Oct. 19. What's potentially more interesting with respect to the iPhone XR is that at least one analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo with TF International Securities, seems to think the device will have staying power into the following quarter.

  • Why Western Digital Stock Declined 28.4% in 2018
    Market Realist

    Why Western Digital Stock Declined 28.4% in 2018

    What Do Analysts Expect from Western Digital in Q1 2019? (Continued from Prior Part) WDC stock down 28.4% this year Semiconductor company Western Digital’s (WDC) stock price has declined 28.4% year-to-date. The stock is trading 48.0% below its 52-week

  • Love Dividends? 3 Stocks You Might Want to Buy
    Motley Fool

    Love Dividends? 3 Stocks You Might Want to Buy

    It's even better when you know that the dividend is a big one! You'll get more of those good feelings if you add high-yielding Magellan Midstream Partners, L.P. (NYSE: MMP), General Mills, Inc. (NYSE: GIS), and Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. (NYSE: SKT) to your income portfolio. It has also been reworking older brands, notably with new yogurt and ice cream products.

  • Is CenturyLink, Inc. a Buy?
    Motley Fool

    Is CenturyLink, Inc. a Buy?

    Legacy landline telecom CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) gets plenty of grief. And understandably so, considering that its legacy business, copper wire landline and internet connections is a steadily declining business while fiber and wireless technologies

  • Home Depot vs. Lowe’s: Both Stocks Are Slumping, So Which One Should You Buy?

    Home Depot vs. Lowe’s: Both Stocks Are Slumping, So Which One Should You Buy?

    An analyst downgrade based on housing market outlooks has sent stocks from Lowe’s and Home Depot down over the last two days. Both Home Depot and Lowe’s are in downtrends dating back to September. On Wednesday, shares in Lowe’s and The Home Depot were slumping after disappointing housing market data led a key analyst to downgrade his ratings and slash price targets, and both stocks continued the slump into a second day on Thursday.

  • Provocateur Stormy Daniels Takes an Unexpected Turn in the National Spotlight

    Provocateur Stormy Daniels Takes an Unexpected Turn in the National Spotlight

    To understand what it means to be famous like Stormy Daniels, for the reasons she is famous, spend time with her in a public space. On Oct. 15, a California judge threw out the defamation case she filed against Donald Trump. Over the past year, Daniels, 39, has become the Zelig of White House scandals.

  • Goldman Sachs Adds Nvidia To 'Conviction Buy' List
    Yahoo Finance Video

    Goldman Sachs Adds Nvidia To 'Conviction Buy' List

    Goldman Sachs analyst Toshiya Hari reiterated his 'Buy' rating for Nvidia and added the chip-maker to Goldman’s 'Conviction Buy' list.

  • Amex posts beat, PayPal shines, Ford makes moves
    Yahoo Finance

    Amex posts beat, PayPal shines, Ford makes moves

    American Express beat expectations in its latest earnings. Profit was up 22% last quarter and Amex says it expects full year revenue to rise upwards of 10%. The company also says it just signed a deal to let customers pay their bills through PayPal. Speaking of PayPal, it also posted a big beat in its latest earnings report. A surge in payment volume for Venmo helped boost the bottom line, with overall revenue up 14%. PayPal says it added a record $9.1M accounts in the third quarter.

  • Why Activision Blizzard, United Rentals, and Gap Slumped Today
    Motley Fool

    Why Activision Blizzard, United Rentals, and Gap Slumped Today

    The stock market had a tough session on Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average finishing down over 300 points. Investors continued to worry about rising interest rates in the U.S., but they also turned their attention to the global macroeconomic picture, where new concerns about the prospects for growth in areas like Europe and China weighed on sentiment. Company-specific news hurt certain stocks, and Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), United Rentals (NYSE: URI), and Gap (NYSE: GPS) were among the worst performers on the day.

  • Suddenly Toxic, Saudi Prince Is Shunned by Investors He Courted

    Suddenly Toxic, Saudi Prince Is Shunned by Investors He Courted

    Now Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman could become the biggest risk to his own project. Everything changed when Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 and didn’t come out. Prince Mohammed, who’s denied any knowledge of Khashoggi’s fate, still has his defenders -– notably Donald Trump.

  • Better Buy: GlaxoSmithKline plc vs. Eli Lilly
    Motley Fool

    Better Buy: GlaxoSmithKline plc vs. Eli Lilly

    People get sick regardless of the economic cycle, so companies that cater to healing them often outperform during downturns, and their stocks are considered "defensive." Healthy and dependable dividends can also contribute to stabilizing portfolio returns in good times and bad. Two successful blue-chip stocks in the healthcare industry are British GlaxoSmithKline plc (NYSE: GSK) and Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY). Investors like both stocks for their dividends and consistent performance, but the companies are really quite different, with GlaxoSmithKline diversified into vaccines and consumer products, and Eli Lilly focused on pharmaceuticals.

  • The ‘smart money’ says it’s time to buy the Chinese internet giants and the U.S. FAANGs

    The ‘smart money’ says it’s time to buy the Chinese internet giants and the U.S. FAANGs

    When the media and investors turn negative on stocks but the “smart money” is bullish, it’s a good time to think about buying. After all, exactly what is the smart money, and how do you know? Lately, several fund managers who pass this test have been pounding the table on Chinese internet names.

  • Business

    Sears Burns Cash While Betting on Lampert Loans for Survival

    Sears is expected to bleed $220 million in just the first month of its bankruptcy, court filings show, cutting deep into the $300 million loan it secured this week from senior lenders. The crunch could become more acute if Sears doesn’t get an additional $300 million it’s counting on from Chairman Eddie Lampert to keep operating beyond the next 15 days. The retailer is staking its turnaround on getting a $112 million loan from Lampert’s ESL Investments hedge fund by Nov. 3, according to a budget approved by the court, and another $188 million over the following two months.

  • What Drove Kinder Morgan’s Q3 Distributable Cash Flow?
    Market Realist

    What Drove Kinder Morgan’s Q3 Distributable Cash Flow?

    Decoding Kinder Morgan's Third-Quarter Earnings Kinder Morgan’s DCF Kinder Morgan (KMI) reported its third-quarter results on October 17. Kinder Morgan’s DCF (distributable cash flow) in the third quarter rose ~3.6% YoY (year-over-year) to $1.093

  • Business
    Motley Fool

    What You Need to Know Before Buying Nintendo Stock

    Nintendo (NASDAQOTH: NTDOY) may own some of the most recognizable intellectual property in video games, but the stock is not as closely followed as its American peers. Here's a look at how you can become a Nintendo investor and what resources are available to learn more about its business.