May 19, 2024

Despite the small sample size, the 30-year-old has clearly improved the Raptors with over 100 minutes this season. He’s a seasoned player who can spread the floor and make deft choices. Though not flawless or a huge difference maker, he is competent enough to have the highest net rating of any Raptors player to play in any rotation this year.

That’s why Porter’s lack of playing time this season has been so mystifying. After a great five-game stretch earlier this year, Porter was ejected from the rotation and replaced with the less-than-stellar Jalen McDaniels for the better part of two weeks. Why

Not really a very good response from anyone. Raptors coach Darko Rajaković stated that the club has attempted to keep the frequently injured Porter healthy this season, therefore it is tied to fitness. That makes sense in the second part of a back-to-back, but it doesn’t really explain why he didn’t play in any of the three games played before Wednesday, or in either of the team’s back-to-back games last week. Porter didn’t show up on the injury report at any point throughout that time with a persistent condition either.

However, Porter returned to the starting lineup against the Miami Heat and performed admirably. In a game the Raptors lost by nine, he was a plus-14 on the floor despite going 0-for-2 and scoring zero points in 14 minutes. After the game, Rajaković stated, “I think he did a good job tonight and he’s going to be in rotation going forward.” We’ll see whether he decides to sometimes sit a game out for load management. However, he performed a fantastic job the past week or two with his playgroups, conditioning, and simply getting back into the swing of things.

Porter should be benched if winning isn’t Toronto’s top priority. He is obviously not a part of this organization’s future, and he is in the final year of his contract. From a developmental standpoint, it makes sense to give McDaniels and Precious Achiuwa that playing time. However, it appears that the Raptors want to compete for a postseason berth right now. Porter is among the nine or ten best players on the team, so if that’s the case, he has no reason to be out of the lineup for several games at a time.


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