Otto Porter Jr. will make a huge impact on Raptors

Amit Mann and Oren Weisfeld discuss how the versatile forward will make things easier for Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby and Nick Nurse (among others). Full episode available on the 'Raptors Over Everything' podcast feed.

Video Transcript

AMIT MANN: And they added another great piece, Otto Porter Junior, someone that has just won a championship. He is an instant-- I'll let you go through it. And you also wrote an article for Yahoo Sports Canada outlining why he's such a great fit. But I found it interesting that the last time he was in the playoffs, before this championship year, was 2018 against the Toronto Raptors, when they were 1 and 6. isn't not funny?

Anyways, it was a two-year contract. He's got a player option in the second year. He turned down a minimum offer from Golden State Warriors. And here he is. He's gonna make some more money with the Raptors. We don't know the contract details yet, which I find is very / we don't know how much money he's making, which is also making you think that maybe there's something else going on, other deals happening. I don't know. But anyways. Otto Porter Junior on the Raptors, go ahead.

OREN WEISFELD: Yeah, I mean, a couple funny things, I mean, Raptors fans will remember Otto Porter Jr. from the Wizards sweeping the Raptors in 2015 and then Otto Porter Junior locking up DeMar DeRozan. He was kind of the guy alongside Bradley Beal, who was supposed to make that team really good. And then he ran into, like, a bunch of injury concerns, especially in his back--

AMIT MANN: Yeah.

OREN WEISFELD: --which is never a good thing. And that's why the Raptors are, I think, his fifth team in six seasons. So he's really bounced around the League recently. But then, he obviously rehabbed his value with the Warriors last season, even, like, slotting into their starting lineup in the last three games of the Finals, just because they downsized and they wanted more shooting. I think he shot 9 for 16 from 3 in the Finals. So, like--

AMIT MANN: Yeah.

OREN WEISFELD: --this is why I like the fit is that he's just-- I'm like you, where I was like, yeah, we're not getting Otto Porter Junior. He's just gonna resign with the Warriors. I just kind of assumed that and assumed that the Raptors weren't gonna be able to get a player like him.

AMIT MANN: Yeah.

OREN WEISFELD: But considering how the first, like, 15 hours of free agency went-- all of the big names, it seemed like, we're off the board. And then you think about the Raptors history in free agency. And you're like, oh, God, they struck out again. And then they pull off Porter. That's like-- that was a big win, I think, for the Raptors. Because he's ready to play right now. He's a vet. He just won a Championship. And he addresses their biggest need, which is shooting. And, like, I can give some stats, if you want, in terms of the shooting.

AMIT MANN: Oh, please. I got something, too. Go ahead, let's pump the tires on Otto Porter Junior.

OREN WEISFELD: Sweet. So, pretty much, he's a 40% 3-point shooter over his career, nine-season career, which is the highest of any Raptor. And then, I found this interesting. Because like the Raptors have a number of guys who can knock down the corner 3, Pascal, Thad Young, but aren't as good above the break operators. And that really forces guys like OG and Gary Trent into playing that role, weak side spot up shooting role. But Porter is a really good above the break shooter, shot 30% or better on above the break 3s in each of his last four seasons.

AMIT MANN: Yeah. OREN WEISFELD: So what that does is, A, it opens up more room for guys like Pascal and Fred to operate with in the paint. And B, I think it'll be good for OG Anunoby because he now doesn't always have to play this role where he's spotting up on the weak side. Otto can do that a little bit, and OG can maybe be more involved in the primary action. So--

AMIT MANN: Yeah.

OREN WEISFELD: --I think there's a lot to like.

AMIT MANN: Yeah. And some other stats, 42% on corner 3s in five of his last six seasons. I outlined that, you had mentioned too, that the Raptors are decent from there. And I believe they were fifth in the NBA on corner 3-point shooting. It's just-- it's adding to what Nick Nurse wants. He wants that ability to hit shots from that side of the court, from both sides. And it's a significant part of today's NBA to be able to hit shots from those spots. And as you said, it's going to make things a lot easier for OG Anunoby to be more of a facilitator and more of a primary option in the offense. And he shot 40% on catch and shoot 3s in the playoffs.

You mentioned how well he was, how well he did for the Warriors there. And you can just see that he's able to hit some shots off movement, off pick and rolls. When Spain pick and rolls, he can leak out and hit shots. Like, Raptors really don't have a lot of guys that can do it as efficiently as Otto Porter Junior. And then, you look at his 7-foot wingspan, you can reliably switch him on to most people. He's got pretty quick feet for a guy his size. And I just think that he is gonna be a really, really smart player when it comes to the Raptors, like quick action, basketball, like make that next read cut to the basket.

And rebounding, my goodness, the Raptors need defensive rebounding. They were the worst in the NBA this past year. And Otto Porter Junior will help there, no question. And I just like the idea of more flexibility for the Raptors. Because you can really slot him in your starting lineup when injuries happen, and you feel pretty confident about it. And off the bench, if you need him to, even be something of a ball handler in transition, like, he can do that. And he's going to make good decisions similar to a Thad Young, except Otto's a little bit more athletic than Thad is.

So there's a lot to like about what he's gonna be bringing. And I could see him-- like, Nick Nurse is gonna love him. He's gonna be taking some notes from a few players that are coming off the bench, put it that way.

OREN WEISFELD: A few young guys.

AMIT MANN: Yeah.

OREN WEISFELD: Yeah.

AMIT MANN: Yeah.

OREN WEISFELD: I mean, you brought up Young. And I think this is where it gets really fun, is, like, you now have this trio who are going to come off the bench, Young, Boucher, and Porter. And I think they complement each other really, really well. Because Young is kind of that connector who just knows how to find guys. Porter is that spot up option. And then Boucher is that rim running, athletic guy who's gonna finish around the rim. And so, I think-- and Porter moves the ball well enough, as well. So I think, like, those three is just a really funky, huge combo to come off the bench. And, really, they're gonna play the two, three, four, in all likelihood. And they just complement each other so well, where Young is gonna connect, and the other two are gonna finish.

And it's funny because a Warriors fan-- I put that group out there on Twitter. And a Warriors fan was, like, yelling at me like, this guy played small ball 5 for the Warriors. Now he's gonna play the two for the Raptors? And I'm like, yeah.

[LAUGHTER]

Like, that's how big the Raptors are. He is gonna play the two for the Raptors. And it's gonna to work, I think, you know?

AMIT MANN: Yeah, yeah. And, I mean, I was on the boat that the Raptors got to find some sort of guard, some sort of shooting guard because it would help with a few cases. It would help with, obviously, shooting. They could use some more ball handling, in cases where Fred isn't around, or Scottie, or Pascal. Whatever happens, like, you just needed a bit more ball handling. And we don't know what's gonna be happening with Malakai Flynn, or Donnell Banton, or, really, like a lot of these guys, so just more stability back there.

But Otto, I mean, Nick likes to get funky with it. He could probably realize that, hey, he can play small ball five. He can handle the ball a little bit. He could use him in a lot of different actions. And he's gonna make good decisions. And so, Ottto, I mean, he could have a pretty significant role with the Raptors. And with the salary that the Raptors have-- and we'll get to that and Boucher in a second-- but with bringing those two back, now you add Otto Porter Junior.

It does kind of feel like something could be cooking. Because it's a lot of same-size players. And I think that's the plan. But you also have a lot of cooks. I'll put it that way, a lot of cooks off the bench. And I would that a person like Chris, who is making a pretty healthy salary himself, is gonna probably want-- he should be getting 25 minutes or so. Thad, maybe it's 20. Otto Porter Junior, he averaged around 14 or something like that for the Warriors. But I would imagine it's gonna be a lot higher with the Raptors. And then he--

OREN WEISFELD: I think it was 22 in the regular season.

AMIT MANN: Sorry, yes, yes. But in the playoffs, it was like 14-ish.

OREN WEISFELD: Yeah.

AMIT MANN: And then you got Precious, is he gonna start? Is he not gonna start? Whoever doesn't start between him and Gary Trent Junior, assuming he is there, that player is also gonna to command 25-ish. That's a lot of minutes that we're just talking about. Maybe the plan is that, let's get deeper so our starters can play 32. Instead of the normal 37. But also, Nick Nurse likes to play his starters heavy minutes. He's like, these are my best players, why wouldn't I play them more? You know?

OREN WEISFELD: Mm-hmm. Yeah, there's definitely gonna be a crunch. But I think that's a good thing because it just incentivizes, like, competition, where these guys are going to have to outplay each other.

AMIT MANN: Yeah.

OREN WEISFELD: Like, it doesn't matter to the Raptors that Chris Boucher is making $12 million now. If he's not playing better than Otto Porter, he's not gonna get more minutes than Otto Porter. So--

AMIT MANN: Yeah.

OREN WEISFELD: I think it's a pretty healthy thing. And the biggest thing that we saw is that injuries run rampant in the NBA these days. And so, the depth really helps when you have these injuries piling up.

AMIT MANN: Sure.

OREN WEISFELD: And, like you said, a guy like Porter can just pretty nicely slot into the starting lineup, and you can go from there. So I'm not too worried about that stuff.

AMIT MANN: You can play two, three, four, or five, too. Wild, wild stuff. All right, so that's the Otto Porter Junior story.

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