Otto Porter: Historical Comparisons to the Possible #1 Picks

May 28th, 2013 by Kevin Hetrick

Finally, we arrive at a guy playing a position of need for the Cavs.  Well-rounded on the court and hard-working off it, this Georgetown sophomore fills several needs for Cleveland.  A small forward that scores efficiently, moves the ball intelligently, hustles, knocks down threes, and buckles down on defense…sounds pretty good.  But does that sound like a #1 pick?  Most people can not fathom a “yes” for that question.  Let’s look at similar players from season’s past, to see if “no” becomes a “meh”. 

Porter’s athletic and production profile is:

6’ 7.5” barefoot, 7’ 1.5” wingspan, 198 lbs, 27” no-step vert, 11.25 second agility drill, 3.40  second sprint time.  Age 20 at the draft.  119 orating on 23 usage.  Shooting percentages = 48 / 42 / 78.  Scoring locations = 50 / 26 / 24.  dreb% = 18.9.  stl% = 3.3.  blk% = 3.  ast% = 18.5.  A:TO ratio = 1.8.

Really good stuff.  Solid length, young, efficient shooting, stellar block and steal rates, sweet passing.  He is a unique prospect.  How much so though?  Similarities include:

Player A – 6’ 6.75” barefoot, 6’ 8.25” wingspan, 185 lbs, 30.5” no-step, 11.69 agility, 3.22 sprint.  21.3 at draft time. (performance stats from age 20.3 season).  107 orating on 25 usage.  47 / 35 / 77.  52 / 25 / 22.  dreb% = 13.  ast% = 22.4.  stl% = 3.2.  blk% = 1.4.  A:TO ratio = 1.2.

Player B – 6’ 7” barefoot, 7’ 0.5” wingspan, 220 lbs, 27.5” no-step, 11.46 agility, 3.34 sprint.  19.2 at draft time.   111 orating on 24 usage.  48 / 36 / 71.  61 / 22 / 17.  dreb% = 16.3.  ast% = 11.8.  stl% = 2.4.  blk% = 3.1.  A:TO Ratio = 0.8.

A primary reason for pairing Porter with the first guy is his weight: 185 lbs at a full fifteen months older.  The two were vaguely similar athletically (both leapt 36” for max-vert), while scoring approximately half their points inside the arc, one-quarter from three, and the other quarter from the foul line.  Both offered high assist and steal rates.  Porter produced points much more efficiently, thanks in part to his superior three-point hoisting, but also a far lower turnover rate.  He also blocked twice as many shots, utilizing his extra wingspan.  Based on across the board factors, Porter looks like a higher level prospect.

Player B very nearly mirrors the length and athleticism of Porter, but does pack on twenty extra pounds.  Only a freshman, his season ended with him ten months younger than Otto.  For production, both scored approximately one-fourth of their points from deep, while providing strong rebounding, steal and block rates.  Again Porter proved superior on offense, thanks to long distance shooting, better ability draw fouls, and superior passing.  In this case against similar schedules, based on age I would give Player B a higher place on a draftboard…but it would be close.

The latter player is Luol Deng, a key cog on the recent run of strong Bulls teams.  The second player is Corey Brewer.  Because of his slight frame, scoring distribution, high steal rates, and similar usage & assist totals, this serves as my preferred comparison. At three months younger though, Porter was bigger, took care of the ball better, proved more disruptive on defense, and shot more consistently.

As a sexy, top selection, “Bigger, Advanced, Corey Brewer” doesn’t really shine.  That’s a good player though…definitely a worthy starter on a contending team…the non-deluxe version played 82 games for 57 win team this year.  A few years ago, Deng lead a 62-win team in minutes played.  This is a type of player that helps teams win games; as discussed in my pre-draft measurement stuff, tall small forwards historically provide the best two-way impact.  Given Porter’s work ethic and competitiveness, it seems reasonable that he will follow a similar trajectory.

 I’ve initiated a pattern over the first two articles, so let’s run with one more comparison:

Player C – 6 ‘ 9” in shoes, 215 lbs, Age 22.3 at draft time (Comparison season is age 20.3 season).  107 orating on 21 usage.  42 / 31 / 71.  50 / 32 / 17.  dreb% = 12.3.   stl% = 1.4.  blk% = 3.9.  ast% = 11.7.  A:TO Ratio = 0.9.

Another skinny small forward with a high shot blocking rate, but this time a player who at three months elder to Porter provided relatively low usage, low efficiency offense.  He didn’t get to the free throw line often, shoot well from deep, or notably distribute the ball.  Of course its Tayshaun Prince, the player that Porter compares himself to.  Otto, aim higher!  “Evolutionary Tayshaun Prince” can start for a champion!  The namesake did.

So what does it all mean?  Choosing a winner between “Wealthy Man’s Wayne Ellington” and “Tony Allen But Better On Offense” was easy.  Wrapping my head around “Evolutionary Tayshaun Prince”  versus TABBOO is tougher.  Before I have an aneurysm though, let’s step back, and consider the main attraction first.  After looking at Nerlens Noel tomorrow, we can choose between them all on Friday.