New York Knicks: The Case For The Pursuit Of Otto Porter Jr.
With trade rumors swirling around Carmelo Anthony, and drama at its highest in years, the New York Knicks need to have a plan in case Carmelo Anthony is traded. That plan needs to revolve around Kristaps Porzingis and Otto Porter Jr.
Anthony has been one of the Top 15 players in the NBA for the last 10 years, and replacing him would not be easy. Losing Anthony would mean gaining assets and clearing a huge amount of cap space for next year.
So who will be the man replacing the Big Apple’s biggest basketball star if he’s to be dealt away from the Knicks?
If the Knicks really do want to win now rather than later, as they have traditionally done, they need to be ready in case Anthony is traded. Names like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Paul George, Jimmy Butler, and Gordon Hayward are ones that immediately pop into mind.
But in truth, none of these players are attainable and the Knicks need to look at second tier small forwards.
Otto Porter Jr. is a name that the NBA world will soon come to know and love. He’s a fourth-year player playing for the Washington Wizards and is having a career year. He’s proving to be one of the most desired young players in the league because his improvement has been steady and impressive.
Porter Jr. averaged 2.1 points per game his rookie year and 6.0 per game in his second season. Last year, he made a small leap to 11.6 points per game on 47.3 percent shooting from the field, and 36.7 percent shooting from three.
In 2016-17, Porter Jr. has made huge strides and is now making his case as a fringe Top 10 small forward.
Porter has increased his PER (Player Efficiency Rating) from 11.64 two years ago to 17.58 this season, with 15.00 considered average.
Porter has been scoring at a career-high rate as the third option on a suddenly surging Wizards team. He’s scoring 14.1 points per game on 43.5 percent shooting from three, and 53.3 percent shooting from the floor. He’s also averaging five rebounds per game.
Porter has corralled 10 or more rebounds six times this season.
Porter has had a career year in 2016-17, and he hasn’t even reached half of his potential. He has scored over 30 points twice, and 20 or more seven times this season.
He’s done all of this as the third option.
Porter Jr. is a true 6’8″ forward who runs the floor like a gazelle and is a stout defender averaging 1.6 steals per game. He routinely guards the opponent’s best player.
Picking up Porter Jr. would be expensive, but he would be well worth it for the Knicks. Zach Lowe, one of the NBA’s most credible reporters, had this to say of Porter’s pending free agency.
Two front office execs in last 24 hours predicted to me he's getting a max. He's been really good. https://t.co/fhUpOLY5UQ
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) December 6, 2016
Porter brings length, athleticism, and defense—three things the Knicks have been missing for years now. Sliding into the Knicks’ lineup as the second option behind Kristaps Porzingis could be all Porter needs to make the leap into the 18-to-20 points per game range, and possibly achieve All-Star level play.
If the Knicks are looking for a quick rebuild to not waste Porzingis’ prime, they need to make moves on players like Porter.
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