If the Jazz are forced to watch as Gordon Hayward bolts for Boston, they need to take great care in securing a long-term replacement. The ideal scenario would be to catch a star on his way up, as they did with Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur in 2004. At the time, some criticized the Jazz for the deals they gave the duo.
In the end, both players became All-Stars and the initial money they got looked like bargain basement prices. This summer, Otto Porter could be the guy on the verge of a breakout.
The Washington Wizards wing has been Hayward-like in his annual improvement. This season was his best yet; in 80 games with the Wiz, he averaged 13.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. Porter also shot 51.6 percent from the field and was fourth in the league in three-point shooting at 43.4 percent.
This equated to a true shooting percentage of 62.8, a Top 10 mark league-wide. Porter takes care of the ball as well, boasting the lowest turnover rate among qualifiers in the entire NBA.
After a slow start to his pro career, the former No. 3 overall pick has begun to tap into his big-time potential. The question now is whether there’s a next step or if we’ve already seen all he has to offer. I suspect it’s the former.
Like Hardaway, Porter is a restricted free agent.