Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, we pose a question to a panel of ESPN fantasy basketball experts to gauge their thoughts on a hot topic.
Today's contributors are ESPN Fantasy's Jim McCormick, Kyle Soppe and André Snellings.
Jim McCormick: Porter has consumed a team-high spike of 3.5 percent in usage rate with John Wall out of the lineup this season and yet is still the inferior offensive player to Harris over the past month.
Washington's wing is averaging just 11 shots per game in 2018 compared to 14.3 for Harris over this sample, a meaningful 30 percent margin that reveals how conservative Porter has been on offense this season. Simply put, Harris claims clear advantages in 3-point volume, assist rate, minutes played and usage over a growing sample.
Porter, to his credit, sports a much stronger rebounding rate, particularly on the defensive glass (17.9 percent defensive rebounding rate compared to Harris's meager 7.0 percent). Since we can easily source rebounds on the waiver wire (Dwight Powell, for instance), I'll gladly take Harris and his superior offensive opportunity and success rates.
André Snellings: I'll take Porter here because his team relies on him more right now. With Wall out, Porter is called upon to be a consistent second option to Bradley Beal, leading the team in just about every way outside of offensive play-making. Wall is expected to be out until at least mid March, which means that Porter will be in this role for at least another month before settling back into his more usual jack-of-all-trades mode.
Harris has explosive potential, but teammates Jamal Murray and Will Barton can be equally explosive from the perimeter in any given game ... or group of games. And all three are secondary on the Denver Nuggets to Nikola Jokic. As such, it's a bit more difficult for Harris to maintain his consistency at a high level.
This has started playing out in the short term, as Porter is still ranked 22nd in the Player Rater during the past 15 days, while Harris has fallen to 65th during that stretch.
Kyle Soppe: I think you're really splitting hairs here, but give me Harris the rest of the way. I could throw some advanced analytics your way, but why make it more complicated than it needs to be? On any given night, Harris (the Nuggets' leading scorer) can be the top offensive option, a luxury that Porter simply doesn't have with the Wizards.
So much is reflected in Harris averaging three more minutes per game while also sustaining a superior usage rate. In a close call, wouldn't you rather have the player who is on the court more and making plays more often?
It hasn't been empty usage over the past two-plus months, as Harris is averaging 5.6 more points per game than Porter since the beginning of December, an advantage that outweighs his slight deficit in the other counting numbers.
Due to both of these players relying on the deep jumper, I expect that we see some peaks and valleys in the second half, but when all is said and done, I'll roll with Harris.