The Cleveland Cavaliers will have a top-6 pick and the 19th pick in this upcoming draft. In the next few weeks here at Right Down Euclid, we will be profiling players the Cavaliers might draft in the first round on June 27. Today, we profile Otto Porter.
Tale of the Tape
Name: Otto Porter
Age: 19 (Turns 20 June 3rd)
Weight: 200 lbs.
Honors: Consensus 1st-Team All-American, Big East Player of the Year, All-Big East First Team
2012-13 Per Game Stats: 16.2 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.9 BPG, 48.0 FG%, 42.2 3FG%, 77.7 FT%
NCAA Tournament Stats: 5-of-17, 13 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists in 2nd-round loss to Florida Gulf Coast
Otto Porter is one of the top prospects in this year’s draft. The lanky forward from Georgetown is expected to be a top-10 pick, and many Cavaliers fans are buzzing about his potential fit for the Cavaliers at the small forward position. Chad Ford has him fourth on his big board; as does Aran Smith of NBAdraft.net. DraftExpress has him rated seventh. Let’s take a deeper look into the man that many Cavs fans and writers are incredibly excited about.
Porter’s a physical specimen that has people very excited. While he’s very lean at 6-8, 200 lbs., Porter’s long arms and legs make him a tough opponent for any offensive player. I mean, the guy’s got limbs for days. It’s like he’s the offspring of the Internet monster sensation Slender Man. Seriously, look at Porter, then click this picture and tell me these two don’t look a little similar? Translated to the basketball court, this gives Porter an advantage on both ends, as a guy with longer limbs will be tougher to drive on, his shots are tougher to block and he’ll be able to compete for rebounds due to his reach. This is important for Porter, who’s a talented rebounder despite his thin frame thanks to those wispy arms. It also helps him on both ends because he’s not the most agile player. Porter struggles with his quickness, and has found himself getting beaten off the dribble by quicker forwards. However, with Porter’s length, that becomes less of a problem because he cuts down space for the opponent to operate in without having to stay directly in front of his man.
Porter’s not the strongest player, but I don’t see this as a real detraction from his abilities. Tayshaun Prince’s knock was strength. Eleven years and four All-Defensive Second Teams later, it doesn’t seem like it was a problem for him. Kevin Durant only bench-pressed 185 lbs. once at the ’07 NBA Combine; he’s playing minutes at power forward in OKC’s small-ball lineups. My point is, strength being a problem for guys like this isn’t necessarily a problem. Porter will get stronger as he develops, just like many others with his skill set.
Porter’s offensive game relies on getting to the rim. He’s a slasher at heart, and he’s quite good at it. Porter’s ability to cut to the rim and finish fast breaks is quite impressive, and that’s something that will help him immediately when he enters the league. He’s a quality rebounder as well, which is good for his style of play. Combining a good nose for the ball coming off the rim with his finishing ability means that he can possibly play minutes on the offensive end as a stretch four, and makes him a bit of an interesting matchup for defenders. The problem with Porter’s offense, of course, is his ugly looking jumper. Porter shoots line drives, has a really awkward release point and kicks out on a majority of his jumpers. This is not the recipe for a quality NBA jumper. That shot’s going to get blocked a lot and is pretty easy to defend. Porter’s shooting percentages greatly increased from three last season, from 23 percent as a freshman to 42 percent this year. His mid-range is also fairly effective. However, this is going to be tough to maintain in the NBA unless his jumper changes. Still, he has time to tweak it, and let’s be honest, if Shawn Marion can make an NBA living with his disgusting jumper, so can Porter.
We’ve already covered Porter’s on-the-ball defense a little, but we need to bring up one added factor. Porter is going to be fine staying on his defender, and that will present Porter with opportunities to be what he has potential to be a stud at: a pickpocket. Porter has great instincts and hands to be able to swipe the ball from opponents with relative ease, and did so to the tune of 1.8 steals per game last season, which is pretty good for a bigger forward. This disruptive ability is going to be big for him in the NBA. He’s not really a shot-blocker, which is fine. The one area Porter could struggle in is defensive rebounding, where his thin body will struggle to bang with bigger opponents initially. However, a smart coach will be using Porter primarily as a perimeter defender, where his length will bother jump shooters and his hands will get in passing lanes. Off the ball he’s pretty solid as well. It’s obvious that while it may take a little time for Porter to become a polished offensive weapon, he should excel on the defensive end pretty quickly.
Porter’s got a high motor, which is very evident in his game. He’s a guy that works hard and plays at a high speed. He also has shown determination to improve his game, something that is evident in his increased shooting percentages and scoring efficiency (1.35 points/possession in 11-12 to 1.43) from his first to second year at Georgetown. These are always good traits, and this is what makes me believe that Porter’s deficits aren’t a huge deal because getting stronger and becoming a better shooter are things that can easily be improved.
NBAdraft.net went with Tayshaun Prince. I feel that this is pretty accurate. Prince was just as lengthy, and had very similar negatives to Porter when he came out. Prince’s jumper also had its issues, and he was also expected to be a good defender. Prince’s career has gone pretty well, and if Porter can match Prince’s abilities on the defensive end, he should have a fairly productive career regardless of his offensive abilities.
How Does He Fit on the Cavaliers?
The Cavs need a guy that can play extended minutes at the small forward position. An excellent perimeter defender would be a good choice as well. Naturally, this makes Porter an excellent fit. Porter should be able to come in right away and deliver help to this incredibly poor Cavs defense. It also puts the Cavs in a good position at small forward. I’m giddy about the idea of Porter playing 25-29 minutes per game then throwing Alonzo Gee at teams for the other 15-20, never letting opposing small forwards to breathe. Porter’s cutting ability will also be well utilized by Kyrie Irving and Anderson Varejao, and should give the Cavs offense some new looks. Add in some small-ball lineup possibilities with Varejao or Tristan Thompson at the five and Porter at the four, and the Cavs would open up some really nice roster flexibility with Porter. Ultimately, I think Porter’s a great fit on the Cavaliers; if he’s available for their first pick, I think he’s definitely the top priority to grab if Nerlens Noel isn’t available.