Draft Projection: No. 3: Washington Wizards
Notes: Insider Only
Positives: Insider Only
Negatives: Insider Only
Summary: June 26 Update: If Noel is the best talent and Oladipo is the sure thing, then Porter qualifies for the title of best player. His upside isn't as high as others on this list, but he's the most complete basketball player in the draft. He can shoot, handle the ball, pass and defend multiple positions. While he doesn't have one skill that's elite, he's such a hard worker that it's very possible he'll develop several down the road. While I doubt he will ever be the alpha dog on a team, he should end up being one heck of a wingman.
Quick fact: Porter shot 69 percent in transition and led the Big East with 1.45 points per play in such situations.
June 25 Update: With so much up in the air in this draft, Porter to the Wizards at No. 3 remains a constant. He's appeared here in every mock and I think it's unlikely we move him. While the Wizards have a lot of interest in Anthony Bennett, sources say they are now leaning toward taking Porter at No. 3. He fits a need, fits their culture and, like Oladipo, is viewed as a sure thing by many NBA GMs and scouts.
June 24 Update: Porter was one of only three players to get a 10 rating (Noel and McLemore were the other two) in our Secret NBA Draft Big Board. But he also received several 6 ratings, showing a significant split between voters on Porter's future in the NBA. Where some see the next Scottie Pippen, others see Tayshaun Prince. It looks like his draft night range is 1 to 6.
June 18 Update: The Wizards continue to be in a strong position at No. 3. The two players they really like -- Porter and UNLV's Anthony Bennett -- are both on the board here. Both are getting looks from the Cavs, but neither is the favorite at this point. There continues to be a pretty strong debate on this one inside the front office, and it might come down to risk aversion for the Wizards. Do they go with more of a sure thing (Porter) or gamble on the guy with more upside (Bennett)?
June 14 Update: Should Cleveland select Otto Porter with the No. 1 pick?
Chad Ford: Yes -- if their goal is to make the playoffs this season and they can't trade the pick. Drafting Nerlens Noel is the long-term answer for the Cavs if GM Chris Grant and owner Dan Gilbert are willing to be patient the next two seasons. But if this team needs to make a push for the playoffs now, Porter is a perfect fit for the Cavs.
I don't think he has as much upside as Noel (or Alex Len, Ben McLemore, Anthony Bennett or Victor Oladipo, for that matter), but I think he's the type of player who is unlikely to fail. He does just about everything well, is humble but also a leader and, most importantly, doesn't need the ball in his hands to make an impact on the court.
To me, he's the best small forward and one of the three best prospects in the draft.
Jay Bilas: No. Porter does not grade out as the top prospect, but he would be worthy of the No. 1 pick if the Cavs really like him and don't see any other player as being a more valuable asset.
I see the NBA draft as being about assets. The player you believe is a great fit right now may not fit your plans later or could be an asset that helps you procure a player or future pick that makes you better.
Porter will be a good NBA player, but the only reason you take him No. 1 overall is if you don't see anybody better. I see a few players who are.
June 10 Update: Porter has yet to work out for a team, but in the coming days he'll hit Cleveland, Orlando and Washington -- that's it. He's seriously in the mix for both the Cavs and Wizards, and seems to be confident he isn't sliding past Washington. If he does slide, there's no way he gets past the Pelicans at No. 6.
May 28 Update: If the Cavs get scared off by Noel, don't be surprised if they select Porter with the No. 1 pick. The Cavs are among a handful of teams near the top of the draft that are enamored with Porter's all-around game. His high basketball IQ, versatility and high character make him one of the "safest" picks in the draft. If the Cavs pass, the Wizards, at No. 3, are a very strong possibility for Porter.
May 15 Update: From a skills perspective, Porter is one of the two or three most complete players in the draft. He could look great in the drills section, though he, too, is unlikely to participate. Typically the top six to 10 players in the draft skip that portion of the combine. Everyone expects Porter to be stellar in the interview process, so the athletic testing might be the real key for him. If he tests well with his vertical leap and lateral quickness, it would further cement his status as a top-5 pick.
May 8 Update (Projected No. 3, Cavaliers): Porter is the perfect fit for Cleveland, and according to sources he is the No. 2-ranked player on the Cavs' board right now. With two dynamic scorers in their backcourt and good size up front, they need a wing like Porter who can excel without having the offense run through him.
May 2 Update: While we currently don't project Porter to go No. 1 to any team, a number of teams -- such as the Pistons, Suns and Wizards -- would consider Porter there and would likely take him at the No. 2 spot if they landed it. While Porter doesn't have the sizzling upside of others on the board, he might be the most complete player of the draft.
Apr 15 Update: Porter declared for the 2013 NBA Draft. Porter is the top-ranked small forward on our Big Board, and for good reason. While there isn't any one thing Porter does that wows you, he may be the most complete basketball player in the country. He can shoot, handle the ball, pass it and post up on offense. He has the ability to defend multiple positions, and he's a humble guy who puts winning ahead of his own stats. He can carry the team when he needs to, but doesn't need to touch the ball to be effective. He should be a top-5 pick on draft night.
Apr 2 Update: Porter has yet to declare for the draft, but it sounds like he's leaning in that direction. With Shabazz Muhammad falling on virtually every NBA draft board, Porter has moved into the pole position to be the first small forward taken in the draft. With several teams like the Cavaliers, Pistons, Suns and Wizards looking for small forwards, he has a great shot of going anywhere from No. 2 to No. 6. He's also showing well in Kevin Pelton's projected WARP metrics. Pelton had him ranked No. 2 behind Nerlens Noel among all college players with a 3.1 projected WARP.
Mar 26 Update: Porter follows McLemore and Smart in a string of subpar performances in the conference and NCAA tournaments. After single-handedly carrying Georgetown to a series of huge wins in the Big East in February, he cooled off significantly the past two weeks. Porter, who has been very efficient most of the season, shot just 9-for-30 in his last two games, both disappointing losses for the Hoyas.
Porter's game against Florida Gulf Coast in the opening round of the tournament was especially disappointing. Porter seemed bothered by the athleticism and didn't assert himself much at all in the first half. Porter still has all the intangibles scouts are looking for, and they won't read too much into two disappointing games. But Porter did miss a chance to assert himself as the best player in the country.
Mar 13 Update: We've had Porter in our top 10 all year, but in the past few weeks his stock has grown to the point that he now has a great chance to go in the top 5. The majority of GMs and NBA scouts I spoke with last week now had Porter rated ahead of Shabazz Muhammad as the top small forward on their draft board. With a number of teams in need of a 3 on draft night, Porter looks like a lock to go somewhere between No. 2 and No. 6. "He's the best pure basketball player in this draft," one NBA GM said. "He doesn't quite have the ceiling of some of the other guys, but those guys all have major holes in their games that could come back to haunt them. Porter is as complete as they come."
Feb 27 Update: No one has had a bigger man crush on Otto Porter this season than me, and over the course of the past month he's dramatically increased the size of his fan club. Porter's usage rate and efficiency have both risen greatly in Big East play. That doesn't happen very often. His career 33-point, 8-rebound, 5-steal performance against Syracuse on Saturday was one of the best individual performances of the season and has quieted critics who claim Porter can't dominate a game from end to end. It was so good, in fact, that a number of NBA scouts have told me he's now passed Shabazz Muhammad on their team big boards.
Jan 30 Update: Porter continues to grow as both a player and as the go-to guy for Georgetown. With second-leading scorer Greg Whittington out for academic reasons, Porter has taken on an increased offensive load. Over the past five games without Whittington, Porter is averaging 19 points and 9.8 rebounds per game while shooting 52 percent from 3-point range and 59 percent from the field. More importantly, Georgetown has a couple of big wins over ranked opponents in Notre Dame and Louisville. The two biggest concerns scouts had about Porter coming into the season were his jump shot and his ability to be a go-to player. He's done a great job of answering both question marks the past two weeks.
Jan 7 Update: Porter actually rates quite high on our Big Board (No. 8). But I confess to putting my thumb on the scale on this one. Many scouts, mired down by his pedestrian numbers, don't see Porter as a lottery pick. I see a potential Scottie Pippen-esque player who could end up being the best small forward in a draft that's pretty strong in terms of wings. Three numbers seal the deal for me for Porter: He's shooting a terrific 43 percent from 3-point range this season and has a high rate of steals (2.0 spg) and blocks (1.3 bpg) for a player at his position. Combine that with a no-nonsense -- almost humble -- approach to the game, and I think he's going to be a steal if he's drafted outside the top 10.
Dec 17 Update: Porter is the only player to appear on my list that isn't on Jay's list. That's OK. I love Jay's pick of McCollum, but I'm skeptical that he goes in the top 10 just because NBA GMs and scouts are pretty averse to selecting players his age (21) that high in the draft. Porter, to me, is the most underrated player in the country. John Thompson's offense is never going to highlight one player, and the diversity of Porter's skills tend to make him blend in. He might be a Jeff Green clone and, if he is, he'll be a bit of a disappointment. But I see some Scottie Pippen in him. With the right team and the right coach, he could be a star at the next level.
Nov 26 Update: Porter absolutely wowed scouts last week at the Legends Classic in New York with his strong play against UCLA and Indiana. His line against UCLA was a box-score stuffer: 18 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 blocks, 3 steals and 2-for-2 on 3-pointers. He struggled in the first half against Indiana the next night before putting the team on his back and carrying it into overtime. Porter had five points and a rebound in the last 30 seconds of regulation.
What's clear from watching both games is that Porter is now the leader of this team and he's markedly improved his jump shot from last year. Porter's long-range jumper and his leadership abilities were the two biggest questions scouts had about his game.
Porter's been ranked as a potential top-11 pick on our Big Board since July 1 and hasn't actually moved up in the rankings much, but it's nice to see so many others recognizing what a talent he is.
Oct 18 Update: Porter surprised a lot of scouts in 2011-12 with a very solid freshman season at Georgetown. It's hard to peg any one thing that Porter does spectacularly well, but he's the proverbial "basketball player" who always seems to be at the right place at the right time.
He wowed scouts at the LeBron camp this summer. His motor, his work ethic and a game with very few holes all bode well for him. As summer turned to fall, a few scouts have backed away a bit from huge Porter expectations -- especially in John Thompson III's more structured offense. But a few scouts I really trust see him as a potential lottery pick in what looks like a down year. I think they might just be right.
Nov 25 Update: Porter was one of my favorite players in Maui this year. He's a ways away from the NBA right now, but he's got good size as a small forward, is a good athlete who plays hard and has a smooth mid-range game. He needs to add more consistency on his 3-point shot and add some strength, but he's a potential first-round pick someday.