Otto Porter has truly begun to show the Wizards that he -- not Kevin Durant -- is the Wizards' small forward for the long term future. He is averaging 10.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in the playoffs and has become a defensive pest who is keeping Toronto Raptors star DeMar DeRozan in check.
Earlier this week, Umair had some visual evidence showing how Porter is causing fits for DeRozan when he gets in isolation sets among other things. In addition, Nick had a chance to ask Marcin Gortat and Porter himself regarding his excellent performance in Game 3.
Let's add another nugget of information on just how good Porter has been on the defensive end, especially against DeRozan, with the use of SportVU's player tracking stats.
One of the metrics SportVU has is tracking "closest defender" stats when a player is shooting. After three games, here are the raw numbers to show how each of DeRozan's closest individual defenders are doing when he is attempting a shot:
And if you're more of a visual reader, check out this chart:
As you might have guessed, small forwards like Porter and Paul Pierce were DeRozan's closest defenders for most of his shots during the series. After Porter and Pierce, John Wall and Bradley Beal also defended a number of DeRozan's shots and kept him from going crazy. Marcin Gortat was the only post player who defended a significant number of his shots, and he also did well. But let's get back to Porter's defense on DeRozan vs. Pierce's.
Pierce has clearly been the weaker defender of the two in the series. In fact, DeRozan has been taking advantage of the individual matchup by taking shots early, and often when Pierce is defending him. In Game 2, he attempted each of his first four shots against Pierce and made all of them. In Game 3, He took five of his first six shots with Pierce defending him. Out of those five shots, he made four of them.
Porter, however, has been able to keep DeRozan from getting on a hot streak. DeRozan was never able to make more than two consecutive shots with Porter defending him. I don't know if Porter coming off the bench contributes to his better defensive performances against DeRozan since he would have fresh legs. Even if this plays a part toward that, it doesn't fully explain why Porter has been much better defending DeRozan than Pierce.
Therefore, this trend may make some wonder whether Porter should start. If he does, Porter can be on the floor from the beginning like DeRozan -- and put a clamp on his early hot shooting performances. If Porter can do that, there is a good reason to believe that the Wizards could be off to a better start on Sunday's game than they have in each of the last three in this series.