- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 16, 2018

When Wizards forward Otto Porter signed a max contract in the offseason, coach Scott Brooks and owner Ted Leonsis told Porter didn’t need to become a new player to “live up” to the four-year, $106 million deal.

Instead, the Wizards want Porter to do what he does best: Hit open 3’s and play defense.

Lately, it’s been the former that has been a problem. While dealing with nagging hip soreness, Porter has reached double figures just two times out of his last seven games. In Monday’s 104-95 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, Porter went just 3-for-8 for eight points — missing all three of his 3-point attempts.

“I’m just trying to get into a rhythm,” Porter said. “The more I play, the more I get into a rhythm. Just trying to get back into my niche … I know I’ve been out a couple of games, but I’m just trying slow to get back to mentally and physically where I was.”

Porter has missed a total of four games this season, the most recent being on Jan. 6 against the Bucks because of a hip strain. Porter’s hip issues are nothing new, with the forward dealing with the problem since college. His sore hip can also cause Porter’s back to lock up.

Porter said he’s still getting his legs back since missing his latest game. Porter revealed Brooks has him on a slight minutes restriction, although he still has played more than 35 minutes in three of his last four games following his return. Porter said he didn’t know the exact number for his restriction, either. 

Regardless, so far in January, Porter is shooting 37.9 percent and 20 percent from beyond the arc. The sample size is just six games, but both Brooks and Wizards guard John Wall said Porter can do a better job at being more aggressive.

A strength of Porter’s game centers around shooting off the catch.The Wizards like to free Porter up by having him move around screens or by drawing defenders to the paint with an attacker, leaving Porter open elsewhere. Last season, Porter shot 44.6 percent on catch-and-shoot situations, the second-best on the Wizards, from 3-point range.

This season, Porter is still shooting nearly 42 percent on catch-and-shoot scenarios, but his frequency is drastically down. Those shots account for just 30.1 percent of Porter’s 3-point attempts, compared to 40.9 percent during the 2016-17 season.

Overall, nearly 43 percent of Porter’s attempts came from 3-point range last season whereas that number is just 35.4 percent this season. The numbers speak to Porter’s lack of aggressiveness.

“We try to do a good job of getting him as many shots when we can,” Wall said. “At times, it’s kind of hard because he’s coming out really early and then he’s playing with the second unit a lot. We’ve got to do a better job of getting Otto the ball, but he’s got to do a better job of being aggressive himself.”

Porter is shooting 42.7 percent from deep compared to 43.4 percent. It’s a slight drop-off, but that’s still tied for the best on the Wizards.

Still, Porter has been in a slump since the end of December, with Brooks noting Porter “hasn’t made the shots he’s normally made.”

“He just has to keep working on it and doing what he does and hopefully that turns for him and us,” Brooks said. “But we definitely more production and more opportunities to give him, but he has to help himself get those opportunities.

“Right now, we need it. We need some other guys to step up offensively, so it’s not just John and Brad [Beal].”

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