TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors wasted no time showing off free agent signer Otto Porter Jr. when they introduced him to a team media conference on Wednesday.
And the 1.80m-eight attacker wasted no time reaching Raptors fans, as he answered the first question and immediately began singing Toronto’s praises.
“I love the city,” said Porter Jr., citing his experience 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 fit right in with the Raptors, who built the team with players of his size and skills in mind. With a wingspan of 73 inches, Porter Jr. perfectly in the shape of the player the Raptors are targeting.
According to Porter Jr. being a part of that vision played a big part in his decision to move north.
“It played a big part,” said the St. Louis resident when asked about the makeup of the Toronto roster and the role it played in his decision. “A whole 6-7 to seven foot formation, 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 return to the final.”
The 11-year NBA veteran also provides an element Toronto has missed in his three-point shooting. Porter Jr. shot 37 percent from long range for the Warriors in 2022, mostly in a bench role. That touch, plus his defense, 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. excited 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. fits well with the team and bolsters their strengths as well as some new skills to improve on a Toronto squad that lost in the first round of the playoffs last season.
“We believe Otto – who understands what it takes to be an NBA champion – is a great addition to the Raptors,” general manager Bobby Webster said in a pre-written statement. “He is a versatile defender and high-level shooter who fits in well with our team both on and off the pitch.”
For his part, Porter Jr. also expressed his excitement at joining an organization of the Raptors’ reputation and playing under Toronto’s head coach Nick Nurse.
“It seems like everyone likes to play with each other (under Coach Nurse). That’s a good sign, and there’s a great organization here. I can’t wait to get started.”
The former third overall pick joined Toronto fresh from winning the championship with the Golden State Warriors. Although he’s been playing for a champion for some time, that stopped Porter Jr. reluctant to express his optimism about his new team.
“I think with this team we can go very far in the play-offs. With this team we are able to go back to the final,” 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. has averaged 10.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game for his career. He has spent time with the Wizards and Warriors over the course of his career, as well as the Chicago Bulls and the Orlando Magic.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 6, 2022.