RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Otto PorterPosted by BHayes on June 27th, 2013
The NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 27, in Brooklyn. As we have done for the last several years, RTC will provide comprehensive breakdowns of a number of the top collegians most likely to hear his name called by David Stern in the first round on draft night. We’ll generally work backwards and work our way up into the lottery as June progresses. As an added bonus, we’ll also bring you a scouting take from NBADraft.net’s Aran Smith at the bottom of each player evaluation. This post was contributed by RTC’s Bennet Hayes. He can be found on Twitter @HoopsTraveler.
Player Name: Otto Porter
Height/Weight: 6’9” / 200 lbs.
NBA Position: Small Forward
Projected Draft Range: Top Five
Overview: Most of the hardware awarded to the top college basketball player in the country goes to the “player of the year”, unlike in the NBA, where the top individual prize goes to the “most valuable player”. If such an award existed at the college level for this past season, it would be hard to think of a better candidate for it than Otto Porter. The Missouri native did a little bit of everything for a relatively undermanned Georgetown team leading the Hoyas to a Big East regular season title and a #2 seed in the Tournament. He averaged 16.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game on the season, but tended to outperform even those lofty numbers in the biggest games. There was no better example of Porter’s knack for the moment than his effort at the Carrier Dome where his 33 points vaulted the Hoyas past Syracuse in a game where points were at a true premium (a 57-46 final). His heroics would continue just four days later, when a late Porter running layup allowed Georgetown to sneak out of Gampel Pavilion with a one-point overtime victory. Of course, the Georgetown season will now largely be remembered for the emphatic upset to Florida Gulf Coast in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, but Porter’s breakthrough campaign should not be lost in the Lob City fanfare. Rest assured it was not lost on scouts, as Porter is a coveted asset here at the 2013 NBA Draft.
Will Translate to the NBA: Porter is one of the most mature players in this draft. Disciplined and level-headed always, there won’t be any concern about Porter making the adjustment to life as a professional. On the court, that pragmatism manifests itself in a high basketball IQ. Porter is adept at finding driving lanes both with and without the ball, chasing down rebounds, and expecting passes and shots before they occur. It could be a rocky beginning for him on the offensive side of the ball (is he the shooter he showed himself to be last season?), but expect no such rust on the other end. Porter has prototypical length for the small forward position and has showed himself to be a plus athlete — just two more favorable attributes that should make Porter a great defender in the NBA. Much is made of Victor Oladipo’s defensive versatility (and rightfully so) but it’s Porter who is the only player in this draft capable of guarding both NBA point guards and power forwards.
Needs Work: Porter’s offensive game is still pretty raw. He shot the ball well from deep last season at Georgetown, but again, much like Oladipo, how much faith can we have in a small (103 attempts) sample size? After all, Porter shot just 22% from three-point range as a freshman, and his jump shot is still very clunky mechanically. He did show an ability to shoot the ball off the dribble as a sophomore, but ball-handling could still stand to improve. Finally, while Porter projects as an NBA small forward (after playing mostly the four at Georgetown), he needs to put some weight on his lanky frame. He will undoubtedly still be doing a good deal of rebounding in the NBA, and 200 pounds just doesn’t go as far in the NBA as it does in college.
Best Case Scenario: Porter is perceived as a guy unlikely to be a bust, but also the owner of a slightly lower ceiling than some of his green room brethren. He’s unlikely to ever be a prolific scorer at the NBA level, but envisioning a career as a do-it-all forward on a winning team is eminently reasonable in this case. A stat line of 16/8/4 sounds about right, and don’t forget the lockdown defense that should be a staple of Porter’s career regardless of the overall trajectory. Similar to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist a year ago, Porter looms as a top-five pick who will find a way to be a part of a winner. A James Posey comparison isn’t unfair either, although in this best case scenario we could expect Porter to have a little more variety to his offensive game than Posey did. An All-Star Game appearance is not an impossibility, but a better bet is for Porter to eschew All-Star Game appearances for May and June basketball.
Best NBA Fit: Porter is a ready-made fit for a number of teams drafting in the top ten, and we can begin right at the top with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Porter may not grade out high enough for the Cavs to reach for him, but he would be a natural fit at the 3 next to Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters, giving them a wing who doesn’t need the ball to be effective. Moving down the board, the Washington Wizards at #3 look like an equally attractive mate for Porter. The backcourt in DC (Wall and Beal) is another one that will have the ball in their hands a lot, so the low-maintenance Porter makes perfect sense. It doesn’t hurt that Otto has been starring in the Verizon Center for two years now – transitions don’t get much easier than that! If Porter slips by the Wizards, he might be out of luck for a few picks before the Detroit Pistons draft at #8. Joe Dumars would have to be ecstatic to find the small forward of the future all the way down at #8, as Porter would join Andre Drummond and fellow Georgetown alum Greg Monroe on a talented young front line.
Scout’s Take (from NBADraft.net): “Porter is a multi-skilled small forward possessing tremendous length (7’1 wingspan) and veteran basketball savvy at 19-years of age. He’s in constant motion away from the ball, roaming the baseline, cutting backdoor or settling into soft spots. Utilizes that same motor to get out in the open court and runs exceedingly well end to end; averages 1.45 PPP in transition. Smooth run/jump athlete but missing the trademark explosion of a lottery talent. The power quotient is noticeably absent as well. While muscle definition is more noticeable, he has not added substantial bulk in his two years.”