As the NBA season approaches and training camps get underway, we’ll be taking a look at the player on each team that holds the key to unlocking their full potential.
In Golden State, there are a number of questions facing the Warriors, most notably the health and availability of Klay Thompson coming off of two serious injuries back-to-back. Even beyond Thompson, the Warriors had to get more spacing and secondary creation onto the roster around Stephen Curry, and, without much money to do so, they ended up taking a flier on Otto Porter Jr. in free agency.
It’s been a long time since we saw a fully healthy season from Porter, playing just 42 games in the last two seasons, but he’s been able to play he’s a career 40 percent three-point shooter and, when healthy, can create for himself off the dribble. Porter provides them with some much needed depth behind Andrew Wiggins who can serve as something as a Wiggins-lite offensively (a better shooter, a worse creator) to ensure they always have someone on the wing that presents at least something of an offensive threat.
His defensive impact comes down to how much mobility he’s lost after foot and back issues have derailed his past two seasons. Early in his career in Washington, his combination of size, length, and athleticism made him a versatile wing defender. Since injuries have piled up, he’s not had the same impact on that end in Chicago and a brief stint in Orlando, but on a team with a defensive identity and system in place, it figures to be easier for him to find his role in Golden State.
Porter has a chance to be one of the steals of free agency. That requires him to be on the floor, but he fills a lot of needs for this Warriors team and a return to form could simultaneously elevate his value for next offseason and the Warriors’ chances of competing in the West.