There's been a lot of buzz here at OPP and other platforms across the internet about Otto Porter, Georgetown's versatile swingman.
When he arrived at Georgetown he was heralded as a hard-working, smart player with a willingness to defend. In his freshman year he showcased those attributes as a versatile offensive player inside the three-point arc. What he lacked was a consistent three-point shot that would create spacing in the Hoyas' offense that consists of constant movement and off the ball cuts.
In his sophomore season his three-point shooting dramatically improved and he became much more willing to shoot the ball from behind the arc. That piqued the interest of NBA scouts enough to land Porter top-five on most lottery teams' big boards.
Otto Porter's 2012-13 season:
Porter established himself as Georgetown's leader on November 19th against No. 11 UCLA. Porter scored 18 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, dished five assists, recorded three steals, and blocked five shots. His stat-stuffing performance was highlighted by the two three-pointers he hit. In his next appearance against Indiana, he shot 3-of-4 from downtown, in another stat sheet filling performance. What he showed in those two early games was that he had established a comfortable three-point shot, something that limited him in his freshman season.
His best game of the season came at No. 8 Syracuse on February 23rd. The Hoyas had won their previous eight games and were looking to prove that they were a real contender. They won their ninth straight against Syracuse, 57-46, behind Porter's 33 points and 5-of-10 shooting from 3-point range.
Georgetown went on to earn a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament before being upset by Florida Gulf Coast, which took the country by storm on its way to a Sweet 16 birth.
Porter led the Hoyas much further than anyone had expected. Georgetown tied for the best record in the Big East in the regular season, and Porter was the Player of the Year in the conference. He finished the season shooting 42.2 percent from three, up nearly 20 percent from his freshman campaign.
Porter is a long, wiry forward with a variety of skills on both sides of the ball. His game will adapt quickly to the NBA. He's 6-foot-9 with tremendous length. His 7-foot-1 wingspan gives him distinct advantages both offensively and defensively. He'll need to improve strength, he only weighs 205 pounds, but his big frame and long arms will translate well to the NBA small forward position. If he can gain strength, he could become an NBA stretch four.
Porter's biggest strength--and what has guys around the NBA excited--is his unique, versatile offensive game. No one in this year's draft shot the ball more efficiently from 15-18 feet. Porter is extremely comfortable shooting off spot up situations from mid range. His improved long-range shooting is extremely encouraging.
He works extremely well off the ball and has the ability to score in a variety of ways. Off the ball, Porter can curl off screens or flare for corner threes. He is extremely smart on the offensive end and understands how and when to cut back door for easy buckets. Porter looks like he will fit in a variety NBA offenses, with misdirection plays becoming a staple around the league.
Porter is also comfortable with the ball in his hands. His ball handling isn't the best but he's able to dribble himself into spots on the floor from which he's comfortable shooting. He also uses the dribbling to set up teammates and Porter's ability to pass the ball is unique for his size. Porter's 18.5 percent assist rate is higher than Kevin Durant's in his first five years in the league. NOTE: I'm not comparing the two players, but it's encouraging that Porter has the ability to set teammates up at that kind of rate.
Porter is a willing defender, though he played mostly in zone sets while at Georgetown. He has the length to bother shooters and rebounds the ball on the defensive side of the ball at a nice clip. He has good anticipation and instincts which explain his 1.8 steals per game. He'll need to add strength so that he doesn't get bullied but he seems to understand basic defensive concepts and is willing to play on that end.
Porter has two glaring weaknesses that keep him from being a No. 1 pick: strength and athleticism.
He must add strength to play 30-plus minutes in the league. He often struggled to gain position in the low post as he would get bullied and couldn't get to his spots. Defensively, small forwards in the NBA will be able to muscle their way through Porter, though his length should add difficulty for that.
Athletically, Porter looks like he should be elite, but he's not. He's pretty fast in straight-on situations but he lacks the shifty lateral quickness that would take him to the next level. For the most part, Porter plays below the rim. At times it would look like he could finish with a dunk but would finger roll it in.
He's not extremely creative with the ball in his hands. Though he's an excellent passer from anywhere on the floor and has the ability to comfortably bring the ball up in transition, his shots off the dribble usually come out of one or two dribbles. One way of thinking about this is that Porter is just efficient, choosing to pull up off a couple dribbles rather than waste dribbles into another shot. Another way of thinking about that is that he lacks the ballhandling and creativity to be an elite scorer.
Porter is an old-school type of player who doesn't need the ball in his hands to be effective on offense. He didn't play in a lot of pick-and-pop situations at Georgetown but his overall skill set suggests that he could become extremely good in these types of sets as a stretch power forward if he gains the strength needed to guard and rebound on the other end.
He's the most polished offensive player in the draft with a lot of potential on the defensive end. There will be a multitude of teams willing to take Porter in the top-3 come draft day. The question now: will the Orlando Magic be willing to take Porter at the top of the draft and how would he fit? I'm glad you asked...
How does he fit in with the Magic?
When I wrote about Kentucky's Nerlens Noel, I said that having too much talent is a wonderful problem especially with a promising young GM like Rob Hennigan. The same can be applied here for Porter. The Magic already have two players who are capable of playing the small forward spot in Maurice Harkless and Tobias Harris. Selecting Porter could crowd the depth of that position and eat into the minutes of Orlando's two other young forwards. Or:
Harkless would have to learn how to play the shooting guard spot. Porter-as versatile as he is-isn't athletic enough to slide to the 2-spot at the NBA. Harkless' shooting, though improving, would need to drastically improve for the spacing to work in Orlando's offense. In this case, Porter and Harris would play the forward spots.
Even in that situation, the question becomes "what happens to Arron Afflalo and Glen Davis?" and for that I have no answer. Maybe Hennigan deals one, or both, in the off-season. I'm not sure what would happen. Then there's always the possibility that Hennigan keeps everyone and Jacque Vaughn is tasked with rotating minutes enough to develop the young guys.
I think we can all agree that the off-season is a lot of fun, especially with rebuilding teams. It's never ending: the possibilities, the questions, the discussions.