Posted April 16, 2013

Otto Porter May Be The Surest Thing In The Draft

NBA, NBA draft
Teams will be hard pressed to find many players more of a sure thing than Georgetown's Otto Porter. (Alex Brandon/AP)

Teams will be hard pressed to find many players more of a sure thing than Georgetown’s Otto Porter. (Alex Brandon/AP)

Otto Porter may be the safest lottery pick available in this year’s draft. The Georgetown small forward has already showcased a wide variety of skills, both on offense and defense, that will be transferable to the pro game, and has the size for his position and youth that teams desire in high lottery picks, as well.

This is not to say that Porter doesn’t have things to work on, or that another player or players may end up being a better pro, but Porter’s baseline is established and very solid. He reminds me of another recent Georgetown product, Greg Monroe, in that way. My sense is that you knew, at the very least, what Monroe was going to give you as a pro, and he’s well on his way to exceeding that base projection. Porter should provide the same level of certainty, with significant upside for the team selecting him.

Porter wasn’t very good in the NCAA tournament against Florida Gulf Coast, but frankly, none of the Hoyas were. I’d prefer to focus on his two seasons as a Hoya, and especially the stretch in the Big East this season after Greg Whittington was lost to eligibility issues, when Porter showed an incredible capacity to raise his efficiency while shouldering a much heavier possession load for a limited offensive team. Colleague @LukeWinn’s Power Rankings tracked Porter’s offensive load carrying and complementary improvement in efficiency (in team blurb No. 2). A good amount of that improvement came from better shot selection and Porter’s growth as a jump shooter with legitimate college three-point range.

Porter has a good handle, can shoot the jumper, is very good in transition, can score when he flashes in the lane, and is a very good defender. He’ll need to add some strength/weight to his 200-pound frame, but at 6-foot-8, he’s a prototype small forward at the next level who probably can play a bit at the 4, also, in a smallball alignment. If he works to further develop his post-up game to complement his face-up ability, he’ll be even tougher over time. He’ll need to show consistency in his ability to impact games at the next level, but he’s only 19 years old. There’s a good chance that can come from a guy who delivered so often at the college level. Even as is, he’s well worth the top-five selection that almost certainly will be used on him.

It’s hard to pass up size like Nerlens Noel (even with a knee injury, or maybe even because of it, which would allow you to make a better run at next year’s lottery) or a shooting stroke like Ben McLemore’s. That tantalizing upside is what sucks lottery teams in. But if the lottery were ordered by players that you were certain will not be a bust at the next level, it’s hard to find anyone you would take ahead of Porter. And he may have that upside, as well.

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