The Toronto Raptors very rarely bring in free agents of any repute, which made their signing of Otto Porter Jr. even more surprising after a rebirth with the Golden State Warriors. Fresh off helping the Warriors win a championship, Porter came to town with oodles of hype.
All of that hype lasted just a handful of games, as Porter was quickly injured and mustered just eight games to his name under Nick Nurse. His impact in those eight games was generally underwhelming, partially due to a lack of high shooting volume.
The Raptors have found it difficult to offload Porter, who the league views as a negative asset. Rather than eat the rest of his contract and free up a roster spot, Darko Rajakovic might be willing to give Porter another shot to prove he can be a part of a revamped Toronto rotation.
Failure to do so in the 2023-24 season might be the end of the road for Porter in the NBA. However, if Rajakovic gets him back on track, the Raptors will benefit from his terrific blend of defensive versatility, expert 3-point shooting, and general joviality.
Toronto Raptors 21 in 21: Can Otto Porter Jr. avoid injury?
Stats: 5.5 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.4 SPG, 50% FG, 35% 3PT
Porter averaged 8.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game while playing in 62 regular season games for a world-champion Warriors team. While the former No. 3 pick never quite lived up to the hype, Porter proved he can adapt his style of play and thrive in a specific role on a championship team.
The Raptors may have signed former 76ers star Jalen McDaniels to a two-year deal as a possible young replacement for Porter, but a strong preseason by a player with a longer history of success in the pros might be enough to give him a slight diet of minutes at McDaniels’ expense.
Best Case Scenario for Otto Porter Jr. in 2023
Porter stays healthy. It’s a simple solution, and it’s one that is impossible for Rajakovic to improve with coaching, but this is the crux of the entire issue. Porter has had injuries derail half of his seasons in the pros, meaning the healthy OPJ doesn’t always show up.
When healthy, Porter has proven to be one of the best 3-point shooters in the league while also showing off defensive skills that are impressive. McDaniels might have youth on his side, but Porter’s experience and superior offensive floor might be enough to get him some extra minutes.
Worst Case Scenario for Otto Porter Jr. in 2020
The injury bug comes back. Players rarely get healthier as they age, especially those with as many lower leg injuries.
The Raptors might need to reckon with Porter performing that poorly if he’s healthy as well. A player like him, coming off essentially a redshirt season in a new system that will ask a lot of the aging forward, may not necessarily be the best match for both sides.