After a summer league in which he averaged 19.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, questions naturally arose for Scott Brooks and his soon-to-be handling of the Wizards’ starting small forward position. There’s Oubre: the coveted prospect. And then there’s Otto Porter: the steady, gradually improving 4th year player. When asked about his role as a starter, Porter said he wanted to earn it. No handouts.
Under the Randy Wittman regime, Oubre – much like many other young players – saw very spotty playing time. In contrast, one of new coach Scott Brooks’ hallmarks is his ability to develop young talent – something that may pay immediate dividends for Oubre.
If summer league wasn’t an accurate depiction of NBA-level competition, Oubre has been on a tear so far this preseason. Through two games, he’s averaging 20 points per game (59% FG) and an impressive 4-5 from three-point range. He also fits well within Washington’s scoring (9th in the league last season) and pace (5th in the league last season). Finally, Oubre has the physical characteristics to be effective disturbing shots and causing disruption in the passing lanes.
So is there an argument for Oubre as a starter? That may be premature. While Oubre has shown flashes of improvement, his scoring and budding chemistry with Tomas Satoransky would be valuable to the Wizards’ second unit.
But consider this:
There is some reason to believe Otto Porter may be at or near his ceiling as a player. While he averaged career bests across all major categories, he was also settled in a starting role for the first time in his career. Otto plays to his billing out of college. He has a solid basketball IQ, makes very few mistakes, and never steps beyond his role in the system.
Also, after missing out on landing a marquee free agent this past summer, the Wizards likely must look from within to find their next star. At the end of this season, the Wizards must decide whether or not they’ll be extending a qualifying offer to Otto Porter.
This is an ideal time to give Oubre a lot more playing time to grow.