TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors wasted no time showing off free-agent signee Otto Porter Jr. as they introduced him Wednesday during a team media conference.
And the six-foot-eight forward wasted no time reaching out to Raptors fans, as he took the first question and immediately began to sing Toronto’s praises.
“I love the city”, said Porter Jr., who cited his experience playing against the Raptors during his years with the Washington Wizards, as well as the fact that his wife is from Toronto. “It just made sense.”
Porter Jr. should slot right in with the Raptors, who have built the team with players of his size and skills in mind. With a 73-inch wingspan, Porter Jr. perfectly fits the player mould the Raptors have been targeting.
According to Porter Jr. becoming a part of that vision played a big part in his decision to head north.
“It factored in a lot,” said the St. Louis native when asked about Toronto’s roster makeup and the role it played in his decision. “A whole lineup with 6-7 to seven feet, that’s hard to play against, and I think with this team we’re capable of going very far in the playoffs.
"I think this team is definitely ready to get back to the Finals.”
The 11-year NBA veteran also provides an element that Toronto has been missing in his three-point shooting. Porter Jr. shot 37 per cent from long-range for the Warriors in 2022, mainly in a bench role. That touch, plus his defence, made him a coveted piece for Toronto this off-season.
“(Spacing the floor) is key to today’s NBA, and I was able to do that in Golden State,” said Porter Jr. enthusiastically after being asked about his three-point shooting. “Hopefully I can bring that here.”
Between the three-point shooting and his impressive defensive capabilities, the Raptors expect Porter Jr. to fit right in with the team and reinforce their strengths as well as provide some new skills to improve a Toronto squad that lost in the first round of the playoffs last season.
“We believe that Otto — who understands what it takes to be an NBA champion — is a great addition to the Raptors," said general manager Bobby Webster in a pre-written statement. “He’s a versatile defender and high-level shooter who fits well with our team both on and off the court.”
For his part, Porter Jr. also expressed excitement at getting to join an organization with the reputation of the Raptors, and play under Toronto head coach Nick Nurse.
“It seems like everybody loves to play with each other (under coach Nurse). That’s a good sign, and here’s a great organization. I can’t wait to get started.”
The former third overall pick joined Toronto fresh off winning the championship with the Golden State Warriors. While he's longer playing on a champion, that did not stop Porter Jr. from expressing optimism about his new team.
“I think with this team, we’re capable of going very far in the playoffs. With this team, we’re capable of going back to the Finals,” said the 29-year-old. “This core grew up together … the older guys won a championship here. They’ve been there, they’ve done it.”
Porter Jr. averages 10.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game for his career. He has spent time with the Wizards and Warriors, as well as the Chicago Bulls and the Orlando Magic over the course of his career.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 6, 2022.
Griffin Porter, The Canadian Press