Sixth Pick Tournament Round Two: Otto Porter, Jr. vs. Michael Carter-Williams

Published: June 10, 2013

‘In the NO’ podcast partners battle it out in the second round of the Sixth Pick Tournament, as Georgetown small forward Otto Porter, Jr. and Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams go head to head.

The Case for Otto Porter, Jr. (McNamara)

The first round was all about telling you just how productive Otto Porter was last season at Georgetown. No disrespect to Dennis Schroeder, but he didn’t stand a chance against a first team All-American. In this round, however, Otto Porter faces a formidable opponent, one that the New Orleans Pelicans should seriously consider with the sixth pick in this draft. This round features two guys who have the potential to significantly upgrade positions of need for the Pelicans, but only one provides the versatility that the Pelicans need to become the team they want to become moving forward, and that player is Otto Porter, Jr.

As Ryan said on last week’s podcast, the “idea of Michael Carter-Williams is very intriguing.” I can’t disagree with that. Carter-Williams has fantastic measurables and off the charts athletic numbers, but the trouble with Carter-Williams is that the numbers that really matter are the one’s found in a box score at the end of the game, and those numbers just aren’t very impressive. On the offensive end, you could point to the 7.3 assists per game, but that becomes a lot less impressive when you take into consideration a couple of things:

1. Carter Williams played over 35 minutes per game

That many minutes with the ball in his hands that much, and it is no surprise that he can put up 7 assists per game. Pace per 40 minutes adjusted, MCW’s numbers were solid, but they give no indication that he will be anything better than an average distributor in the NBA.

2. With all those assists came a ton of turnovers

3.4 per game to be exact. Michael Carter-Williams turned the ball over on 26% of his possessions this season according to Draft Express. How scary is that? 1 out of 4 times he attempts to create on a possession, he produces a turnover. Has anybody been watching the NBA Finals? Great teams don’t turn the ball over. If they do, they lose. Tony Parker, game 1 – yeah fantastic shot, but the most impressive thing he did that night was handle the ball all night without producing one turnover against a team that thrives on them.

3. Those numbers were inflated by the non-conference schedule

Wagner, Colgate, Easten Michigan, Monmouth, Canisius, Detroit Mercy, and Central Conneticut State. Michael Carter-Williams absolutely destroyed these teams. In fact, heading into Big East play, he was the top point guard on Chad Ford’s Big Board and things looked great for him. Carter-Williams put up 9.4 assists per game against that caliber of competition. Then, the Big East season started and MCW looked terrible in stretches. 1 assist and 4 turnovers against St. John’s. 2 assists and 5 turnovers against Georgetown. 1 assist and 4 turnovers against UConn.

The real world came to Michael Carter-William’s door and he wasn’t able to deal with it. The assists plummetted more than 30% as he averaged just 6.2 over his final 27 games. Conversely, Porter’s points and rebounds both increased once he hit conference play. One of these guys shrunk when the lights got brighter and the other one thrived.

So now that you have my feelings on MCW’s playmaking and turnover issues, let’s get to the even bigger red flag: his shooting. Look, I love traditional point guards who attempt to get their teammates involved early and often. But I love when point guards do that because they choose to, not because they are forced to. Michael Carter-Williams is labeled as a “pass-first point guard” because he simply can’t shoot. According to, we are looking at a guy who shoots 29% of his 2-point jumpers and 30% on his 3-point jumpers. Compare that to Otto Porter who shot 41% from two and 43% from three. Porter also generated more free throw attempts and shot much better from the line (78% to 69%).

Put all this together.

On one hand, you have a 21 year old point guard who is extremely turnover prone and can’t shoot. He has all the physical tools you would want in a lead guard, but all he did against good college competition with those great physical tools is struggle. If you put the ball in his hands on offense, he is going to turn the ball over a quarter of the time. Play him off the ball and teams will just sag off of him and kill your spacing because he can’t shoot. Seriously, what are you supposed to do with this guy on the offensive end?

On the other hand, you have an ultra productive small forward who just turned 20 a week ago that rarely turns the ball over and can shoot at a high rate from anywhere on the court. He can play on the ball or off the ball, you can put him in the pick and roll or in the post. He is fully capable of creating for himself or creating for others. Defensively he can guard two’s, three’s, and even some fours. He is smart, he is careful with the ball, he is versatile, he is productive, he is consistent.

He is the perfect pick for the Pelicans at #6.

The Case for Michael Carter-Williams (Schwan)

Ordinary vs extraordinary.  That is the decision you have to make here.  Don’t vote for Otto Porter because the mock drafts have him top three.  Vote for the guy who actually could matter for a championship team – and that guy is not likely to be Otto Porter.

The Pelicans have their franchise player, their Tim Duncan, LeBron, Durant.  Anthony Davis is the key to the future, but to turn that key, he needs a ball-handling partner.  Again, that guy will not be Otto Porter.  He may be an ancillary part of that – but he will not fit the role the Hornets need to fill more than any other – he will not be the engine on which an offense can run.  Porter will be the solid wing defender, the corner three specialist, the ball-reversal point-forward at times.  He will crash the boards, fill the gaps, be mortar in a wall.  But he likely won’t be a star.

Michael Carter-Williams can be.  If you look at the superstars of the NBA game, they are almost all players that have dominant athletic abilities with a few key elite skills.  Carter-Williams is faster, more agile and a better leaper than Porter.  Despite playing the point, MCW has a standing reach and wingspan a bare four inches shorter than Porter.  MCW has holes in his shooting game, but if you normalize for pace and minutes, he ranks 1st in steals and assists among Draft Express’ top 100 prospects.  Porter ranks at the top of zero categories.  In fact, he’s not even in the top 5 of any category.

So, essentially, you have the choice here between an high-ceiling extraordinary athlete already in possession of elite skills – and an ordinary athlete with no transcendent skills.

Are you really going to pick the Porter?  I’m going with the guy who can become Anthony Davis’ star running mate.

I’m voting Michael Carter-Williams.  You should too.

[polldaddy poll=7164871]


  1. eMariii123

    June 10, 2013 at 8:55 am

    I voted Porter.
    1.) Schwan mentioned that Porter isn’t top-5 in any category, but that’s because he does EVERYTHING well, but nothing great. Like McNamara said, he just turned 20, and young players get better, not worse. He has the potential to get a few great attributes without getting worse at everything he already does well.
    2.) Schwan’s main argument was that we should pick MCW to be Davis’ star running mate, and Porter will likely not be a star. Honestly, what are the chances of MCW becoming a star? And what are the chances of finding a guy that does everything Otto Porter does? Both are slim. PG is the most stacked position in the league. Almost every team has a solid starting PG, if not two of them. Finding AD’s running mate should not be hard, and there are many better options than MCW.
    Like MM said, Porter is the perfect pick at #6.

    • bobmurrell

      June 10, 2013 at 9:24 am

      eMariii123 your #2 contention is the reason why I had to vote against MCW. As MM said, he likes the idea of MCW, as do I. He’s a huge PG in the mold of Derron Williams, except he doesn’t have the skill set of someone who can take advantage of that size. Otto brings it against good teams. There’s a reason why he’s projected top 3

  2. Bigeauz

    June 10, 2013 at 9:23 am

    I think in this case I have to go with the sure thing. MCW is a big gamble. I just don’t think we’re in a position for a high risk pick like that. Porter, on the other hand, feels like you know what you’re getting. He won’t ever be a star, will always be serviceable and a starter, but won’t ever excel at any one thing. He will also always leave you wondering how you can upgrade the 3. Still, Porter edges out MCW to decrease risk.
    Is it just me or is this one of the most wide open drafts in recent memory?

  3. Michael McNamara

    June 10, 2013 at 9:26 am

    FYI: Andrew Geiger, our podcast guest from Casual Hoya, just emailed me this if you guys want to read up some more on Otto:

  4. 504ever

    June 10, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Potential versus production?  I’m like Jim Finks; I’ll draft production every time and, in this case, production plays a position of greater need for the Pels: SF.
    And Schwan, I suggest that since these are both Big East players you use these Big East games only stats to come closer to normalizing stats  (scroll down to get individual stats):

    Porter dominates Big East games only stats like few players.  C-W?  Try a sub 2.0 assist to turnover ratio in Big East games!  (Which proves Michael’s points 2 & 3 above.)  So if C-W ranks 1st in per minute assists, where does he rank in per minute turnovers (especially in Big East games)?

    • Michael McNamara

      June 10, 2013 at 12:03 pm

      Wish you would have shown me this two days ago! I did all the stats by plugging each game into my calculator. I’m an idiot!

      • 504ever

        June 10, 2013 at 2:51 pm

        Michael McNamara  
        Wish I had known you wanted it.  You can generally find it for any conference.  It goes back to the days when conferences played a double round robin regular season and only conference games stats were allowed to be considered when voting for all conference honors.

  5. CoReMeGa

    June 10, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Absolutely I would go with Porter! We already took our project PG last year in Rivers and I’m sticking with him. We fill a hole with Porter at SF, a position which is harder to fill in free agency. I’m also not sold on MCW, he is a project and I see him being a PG version of Aminu.. crazy athletic but not all there.

  6. ericsnow

    June 10, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Porter does everything well he still have room to grow give him time to improve under Iggy or smith n learn from them we might have a future Paul George maybe who know also he would fit n perfectly come off the bench at least for now
    Its hard to hate this lineup

    • Hank_

      June 10, 2013 at 12:48 pm

      ericsnow dont like Vasquez or Lopez

      • ericsnow

        June 10, 2013 at 1:11 pm

        Rivers should be ready to start by yr 3 eventually we will have to move Vasquez n Lopez eventually I see dell keeping one of these players till the allstar break letting their stock rise n trading for a 2014 1st round pick

    • JabberWalker

      June 10, 2013 at 1:20 pm

      ericsnow Trying to bank on signing a big name free agent like Iggy or Smith is a stretch.  I don’t see any way we get Smith (or why we’d want him).

      • ericsnow

        June 10, 2013 at 1:29 pm

        See smith is kinda like the opposite of Iggy where iggy can play n guard the 1-3 smith can play the 3-5 if we trade Lopez for a rookie center we can use him to help out the bigs if they need help filling up minutes or if someone gets hurt

  7. Papa Pelican

    June 10, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Porter will be a rotation player for 2 years.The biggest debate will Porter be another Paul George or an Julian Wright.

    • ericsnow

      June 10, 2013 at 11:00 am

      That’s the same way I feel about rivers I just hope if we draft porter we leave him out there as the starter to make the same mistakes rivers did his 1st season

  8. fearthepelicans

    June 10, 2013 at 11:20 am

    Have to go with Porter even though I really, really like MCW.

  9. Hank_

    June 10, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    It would be such a luxury to have a SF that could hit the open 3 AND play defense. Seems like we’ve had to choose one for so long

  10. nolafredo

    June 10, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    I also voted Porter although Schwan’s argument was very good and very strong.  
    Ultimately, I ask what are the hardest things to find for a championship contender?  To me, that’s perimeter defending and versatility.  Too many guys know how to do 1 thing (or at most, 2 things) well.  Maybe Porter won’t be LeBron or Durant, but if he can turn into the Pelicans’ version of Ron Artest in Indiana (minus the crazy), I will gladly take it.

    • kierantk

      June 10, 2013 at 11:09 pm

      nolafredo Perhaps, but keep in mind that Ron Artest could defend the best wings because he is 260-270.  Otto Porter is 200.   Even KD was 215 when he was drafted, and he was a twig.  
      Spending the 6th pick to get a guy who can defend the elite forwards in the league is fine.  But is Porter that guy?  Can you really expect Otto Porter to put on the 40+ lbs he’ll need to do that, without losing athleticism?

  11. usnfish

    June 10, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    MCW may have a higher ceiling, but his floor is subterranean.  We don’t know if he can guard man-to-man, have reason to believe he can’t shoot, and have reason to believe he is careless with the ball.  Way too many question marks compared to Porter.

  12. HollisBuckeye21

    June 10, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    Have to take Porter here. MCW is an intriguing prospect and I still project he makes a climb just before the draft. However, if Otto Porter is there at 6 and the Pelicans pass. I can say without a doubt, I will not only be disappointed, but I may pull a few hairs out too. Porter fills a need. If he’s there at six, he’s likely BPA. And it does not take a rocket scientist to recognize that this is a guy that can provide depth and talent to so many different aspects of the game. He can attack when he needs to. We know he can play defense. Oh, he can hit a three two if needed. The guy is a basketball player, and a special one. Based on the mix of need and talent, Porter is at the top of my board.

  13. Rob_Wil

    June 11, 2013 at 12:12 am

    A really great line…”Ordinary vs extraordinary “… It almost convinced me. Almost..

  14. Houpgarou

    June 12, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    the conversation for mcw begins and ends with his defensive potential.  pairing him with gordon, pressuring the ball and getting deflections, would drive opposing backcourts mad, and open up a lot of easy hoops.  add in a long capable 3, and ad and look out league.
    not saying i’d take him ahead of otto, i’m just sayin, you could do much worse

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