I wanted to open this next doppelgänger article with some hope. For that, I figured I’d look back at comps for Otto Porter’s rookie year.
Porter dealt with a hip injury that kept him on the sidelines, and he was downright terrible when he played — 19.0% from three-point range, 41.4% on twos, more turnovers than assists. In every way, his performance communicated that he was overwhelmed and out of his depth.
With Porter, it didn’t stay that way. In his second season, he improved across the board backing up Paul Pierce. When Pierce departed, he became an excellent shooter, solid rebounder, and solidly above average defender. From dreck to good player.
Except, the doppelgänger machine may have somehow spotted a signal in Porter’s crummy first year. There’s some detritus for sure, but...well here’s the top five:
- Nate Driggers, 1996-97, Boston Celtics
- Lance Stephenson, 2011-12, Indiana Pacers — Actually Stephenson’s second season. His rookie year was worse.
- Cory Joseph, 2001-12, San Antonio Spurs
- Jumaine Jones, 2003-04, Boston Celtics — Year five for Jones.
- Kevin Martin, 2004-05, Sacramento Kings
In a very bad season, Porter’s closest comps included successful professional players. Martin even got a few All-NBA votes in a couple seasons.
That brings me back to Davis’ doppelgängers. My Statistical Doppelgänger Machine factors age and an array of pace-neutral statistical categories like minutes played, usage, preferred shot types, offensive and defensive rebounding, assists, steals, blocks, turnovers, fouls, scoring, and an overall measure of the player’s production relative to era.
The Machine does not include variables for size, position, or athleticism, but even so individuals tend to get “doppelgängers” who are relatively close in each of those categories.
- Daequan Cook, 2009-10, Miami Heat — This was Cook’s third season, and it was worse than his first two. He had a couple not awful stints with Oklahoma City, but his performance cratered, and he was out of the league at age 25.
- Mario Hezonja, 2016-17, Orlando Magic — Year two for Hezonja. As a rookie, he was bad. The next season, he was even worse. He bounced back with a decent third season, but was finished in the NBA at age 24 after a couple replacement level seasons.
- Sekou Doumbouya, 2020-21, Detroit Pistons — An absolutely terrible season for the 15th overall pick in 2019 that was somehow modestly better than his rookie year. Detroit gave up and sent him to the Brooklyn Nets in a deal that involved DeAndre Jordan, cash, and a bunch of second round picks. The Nets traded him to the Houston Rockets (along with a second round pick) for cash. The Rockets waived him. He got a couple games with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2022, but was out of the NBA last season at age 22.
- Kevin Knox, 2019-20, New York Knicks — Here’s the setting: Draft event organized at Halfsmoke by friend and Knicks fan Armon Lee. The Knicks select Knox ninth overall. Armon brims with hope. He turns to me and asks what YODA had to say about Knox, and before I can demure, he hands me the microphone. I stammer out that I had Knox with a “don’t draft” grade. And his face turns into that wash of “oh no well maybe this time but oh no” look that only long-suffering fans of moribund sports teams can muster. Anyway, so far Knox has been unproductive with the Knicks, Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons, and Portland Trail Blazers. In fairness, he was somewhat better with Portland, though still a long ways from good. This comp season was Knox’s second in the league — basically a carbon copy of his rookie year.
- Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, 2017-18, Philadelphia 76ers — Picked 24th overall in 2017, Luwawu-Cabarrot spent some time with four NBA teams and never clawed to production much better than replacement level. He was out the league last season at age 27.
- Quincy Douby, 2008-09, Sacramento Kings & Toronto Raptors — Douby was the 19th overall pick by the Kings in 2006. He never found his way in the NBA. This was his third season, and probably his worst. It was his last — he was finished in the NBA at 24.
- Terrence Ross, 2012-13, Toronto Raptors — I thought I’d feel more hopeful about Ross until I remembered that most of his good games come against the Wizards. He was the 8th overall pick in 2012, and while he was bad as a rookie, it was replacement level bad, not among the league’s least productive players level. While he has yet to crack average, Ross has lasted 11 seasons (and counting) as an off-the-bench offensive sparkplug.
- P.J. Hairston, 2014-15, Charlotte Hornets — Yet another first round pick (26th overall), Hairston struggled mightily and lasted just two seasons.
- Trey Lyles, 2016-17, Utah Jazz — The 12th overall pick in 2015, Lyles disappointed in Utah. That turned out great for the Jazz, which was somehow able to trade Lyles and Tyler Lydon to the Denver Nuggets for the pick that become Donovan Mitchell. Lyles has been up and down in his eight seasons, but he’s rated a bit above average a couple times and seems to have found a home with the Sacramento Kings.
- Allan Ray, 2006-07, Boston Celtics — Undrafted free agent who performed poorly in 47 games for the 24-58 Boston Celtics. That was it for his NBA career — he was done at age 22.
By the way, the closest Wizards comp to Davis is Troy Brown Jr., not Otto Porter. Except, it’s Brown’s third season before the team sent him to the Chicago Bulls for Daniel Gafford.
Who’s next through the Doppelgänger Machine?
This poll is closed