It was not the introductory press meeting that Toronto Raptors followers may well have been hoping for — no offence to OPJ, he’s not KD.
But Otto Porter Jr. is in a Raptors uniform for true and for now, though the prospect of Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant staying sent below is a wish, and maybe a person that Toronto desires to be cautious about.
In the meantime, the earth keeps turning and in a marginally unpredicted collision of situations, it has introduced the respected veteran — refreshing off a title with the Golden State Warriors — to the Raptors.
And relatively than Porter Jr. needing to be coaxed and educated about participating in in Toronto, the 9-yr veteran was all in from the soar.
“I had some other delivers, but this was unquestionably a area that I wanted to go to,” Porter Jr. stated. “You know, my spouse is from here, it can be just a whole lot easier for the household. It’s a good corporation, great staff, younger staff that has aspirations to get back again to the major. And with successful the championship with Golden Point out, I feel like I can carry that expertise here to enable the younger men out with executing that yet again. “… [But] I’ve been listed here truly in the summertime time so I know a ton about the town, I know about the persons and the winters — I know a good deal.”
The Raptors know a good little bit about him, way too. He’s a participant the Raptors have been checking at any time considering that they went towards him in playoff series in 2015 and 2018 when Porter was with the Washington Wizards. The Wizards had drafted him No. 3 all round in 2013 and rewarded him with a $105-million extension on his rookie deal — the greatest allowable at the time — as he recognized himself as an elite 3-place shooter who could maintain his very own defensively from some of the NBA’s finest wing scorers.
But it is an additional link that played a aspect in Porter Jr. signing with the Raptors on a two-year, $12.4 million offer.
Prior to his season with Golden State, accidents experienced limited the 6-foot-8 forward to just 42 game titles about the past two seasons as he struggled with hip tightness, back again troubles and foot problems at instances. With the Warriors, he played 63 regular-year games and an additional 19 in the playoffs, setting up himself as a important reserve and piece in some of the Warriors’ most powerful lineups.
The Warriors restricted his minutes he averaged just 22.2 minutes a game and was frequently rested for one particular fifty percent of again-to-backs. His overall health was managed by Rick Celebrini, the Warriors director of sports medication and efficiency, a Canadian who qualified below the Raptors’ vice-president of player wellness and general performance, Alex McKechnie.
“That’s their mentor,” claimed Porter Jr. “I’ve heard a great deal about Alex and I’m searching forward to doing the job with him.”
The operate he did do with the Warriors aided revive his vocation, and Porter Jr. is hopeful that his achievement last yr will carry on and allow him to deliver bench manufacturing and lineup adaptability with the Raptors.
“[Last season] just showed that I can get back again to that stage, I can participate in at a large amount. You just see all the difficult operate compensated off in the off-period, getting your system prepared,” stated Porter Jr. “…It’s a lengthy year, especially when you get to the playoffs and it is about who’s the healthiest at the conclusion of the calendar year.”
Porter Jr. is assured the Raptors — as presently configured — can be a write-up-period issue. The addition of his skill to unfold the flooring — he’s a profession 40 per cent three-issue shooter — and his healthy with head coach Nick Nurse’s switching strategies on defence must be a moreover for a younger group that won 48 games final year and is gunning for more.
“I’ve been in the league for so long and likely to a staff that has vets and a combination of young men, I’ve observed what it took to put it all jointly,” he said. “I consider that I learned a great deal from being in Golden State that I can convey to this group, primarily with the youthful guys.
“You’ve got some young guys that grew up here and gained a championship so just to provide some more veterans, leadership features to the crew to keep on to piece it together and go on to fairly substantially work jointly and test to get to that degree once again.”