On Saturday, the Washington Wizards took the court for their first Summer League game against the Atlanta Hawks. Throughout the duration of the 2014 Las Vegas Summer League, the major storyline for the Wizards will be last year's #3 overall pick, Otto Porter.
Coming out of Georgetown last year, Porter was widely believed to be the most "NBA ready" player in the 2013 NBA Draft. However, Porter struggled to crack the rotation in his rookie season, averaging just 8.6 minutes and 2.1 points per game. In addition, Porter managed to step on the court in just 37 games.
After costless agent Trevor Ariza signed a 4-year, $32 million contract with the Rockets, it became even more apparent that Porter needs to step up for the Wizards in his sophomore season. When asked about his increased role after Ariza's departure Porter said the following, "I mean, hey, the door opens up. Trevor had a tremendous year last year. Now it's time for people to step up and fill those shoes."
With an increased role more than likely coming for Porter this season, it is imperative that he has a successful summer league. Well, he started off well on Saturday in Las Vegas. Porter was clearly the go-to option offensively, scoring 25 points on 11-16 shooting and grabbing 7 rebounds. Porter showed the offensive confidence that he lacked during his rookie season.
Wizard's Summer League coach Sam Cassell has appointed Porter with a leadership role with this young team which should help him moving forward to the regular season. When asked about this leadership role following the game, Porter said "That's why Sam gave me control of the team. 'Hey, this is your team. You've got to lead these guys to victory.' "
With this dominating performance in the Summer League opener, the Wizards and their fans will be expecting a lot from Porter, not only through the rest of the summer but also moving forward to the regular season. Hopefully Porter can continue his high level of play and demonstrate why he was chosen as the #3 overall pick just one year ago.