I'm a big Otto Porter fan. I like the way he moves without the ball. I like that he is long, lanky and uses that to his strength defensively. I also like that he has the potential to be a key piece to the young core of this team.
That being said, I also like Garrett Temple's game. Subtle, smart, stays within his realm, lets the game come to him and is a good defender who understands his role. The problem is that Temple's game has limitations. If he plays 25-30 minutes, he may, on a good day, get you 12 points one night with one or two assists, a couple steals, and a couple rebounds. Or, he may get you a just few points to go along with five assists and seven rebounds. Typical numbers that won't change drastically from 10-18 minutes on the floor in a reserve role.
And that's just it. Those are the numbers a very solid role player can give the team. And that's what Temple really is -- a role player.
Don't get me wrong, though. Even if Wizards fans (from what I read) are split on Temple's worth as a player, I'm on the side that thinks he's worth having on the team. There are only so many teams in this league that have the luxury of resting a Russell Westbrook-type of player in favor of Reggie Jackson's bundle of energy. In fact, the Thunder may be the only team that can rest their go-to guy and still knock you out with his backup.
Yes, Randy Wittman likes that he can use Temple in different situations. Now it's time for Witt to realize that the situation calls for him to back up Porter.
With Wall and Temple together on the floor, the Wizards are essentially playing with two point guards. Temple's first instinct isn't to catch and shoot; it's to survey the floor and make a pass. I will happily admit that his shooting has improved. He's improved the quickness of his release, his confidence in his shot and his shooting instincts in general.
But as Temple's dad noted in an interview with Comcast SportsNet's Chris Miller during Thursday's win over the Orlando Magic, he remembers telling a younger Garrett to be more assertive and aggressive offensively during a game so he would be seen more by scouts. And even as a youngster, Temple's response to his dad was a question in itself. Temple asked his dad if he knew that he had racked up so many assists and steals during the game, since those were the numbers that he excelled at getting.
That screams, "Dad, I'm a point guard, not a shooting guard!'' to me.
While Garrett has hit three's to a nice extent through the first two games this season, his first instinct still is not to shoot. It's to find another player. Which is great, unless your job is to score. Behold the following example from the season opener (apologies for the video quality):
Now go ahead, Otto. How about you give it a whirl:
See the difference? Otto goes straight up. Garrett hesitates, and though he had more space between he and his defender, his indecisiveness results in a turnover.
Otto, now that he has confidence for the first time in his young career, is a catch-and-shoot player who has the natural secondary instincts to make good plays for others as well. But, like I said, those are "secondary," as they should be for a player in the off-guard position. He is what this team needs in that spot while we wait on Bradley Beal to come back from his injury.
Offensively, Porter's ceiling is way higher than Temple's, as it should be when comparing a top 3 draft pick to an undrafted player. Defensively, he may be less agile than Temple, but he makes up for that with his length, bothering his opponent by constantly poking his hands around for a steal. Oh, and did I mention he can run the floor really well?
Porter knows how to get himself open for a shot, too. Whether it be for a corner three, a midrange jumper, or a layup, Otto uses great instincts and awareness to put himself in areas that give him great chances to be successful. Here he is bailing Wall out because of his off-ball movement.
Throughout both games so far this season, Temple has been stagnant offensively, heading straight for the corners and hanging there, waiting for a ball to come his way. Porter, on the other hand, is constantly peeling around screens and getting himself ready for the spacing he needs to put up a shot or attack the hoop. Of course, he still hasn't mastered the correct decision-making, but he will get there. Paul Pierce is also constantly on the move around screens. When they're on the court together, the two of them could cause problems for defenses trying to keep up with both of them curling around screens. That is, as long as Otto can confidently and consistently connect on his shots or dangerously attack the rim.
Here's Otto making his way around a nice screen, but unable to connect:
So go ahead Randy, #FreeOtto. Give the kid a chance. It could do wonders for the future of this team.