Sixth Pick Tournament Semi-Finals: Victor Oladipo vs. Otto Porter, Jr. (Part I)

Published: June 17, 2013

In part one of this semi-final matchup, Michael McNamara and Jake Madison debate whether Otto Porter or Victor Oladipo should be the Pelicans’ pick if they both fall to number six. Part two will feature counterarguments and a poll for you to vote for your choice.

The Case for Otto Porter, Jr. (McNamara)

I will admit that this is hard for me, and it should be hard for you when it comes time to vote. Honestly, if Dell has these two guys sitting on the board when he picks, he should thank his lucky stars because I don’t think he could go wrong either way. On one hand, you have perhaps the most intense defensive player in college basketball last season and on the other side you have arguably the most versatile player in college basketball from last year. These guys embody everything the Pelicans want moving forward; they are hard working, smart, versatile, defensive minded, and unselfish. But one guy’s ability to fit a need for the Pelicans and improve our offense in a multitude of ways makes him the better of the two picks. That guy is Otto Porter.

Victor Oladipo had a fantastic season, dramatically improving in nearly every category after having a pretty pedestrian sophomore season. In Oladipo’s sophomore year, he averaged 10.8 points on 47% shooting. Even worse was his three-point shooting, a miniscule 21% on nearly 50 attempts. When you compare his sophomore campaign to Otto’s, it isn’t even close, but that argument is too easy and I won’t make it.

The fact is that I respect the hard work that Oladipo displayed to improve his game in the offseason and the Pelicans are deciding between the two guys in front of them, not this Otto Porter vs. sophomore Victor Oladipo. But what I will say is that while his raw numbers indicate a huge leap on the offensive end, the idea that he has turned himself into a good offensive player just doesn’t hold up when you look a little closer. First, let’s start with the field goal percentage. Yes, it jumped from 47% to 60% this year, but he only took 8 shots per game in each season. Basically, he made one shot per game that he missed the year before. According to, his FG% at the rim and attempts at the rim stayed about the same and he shot .5 more three’s and made .5 more three’s. Where the improvement came was on the 2-point jump shot. He took less of them (51 compared to 66) and he made a higher percentage of them (24 compared to 17).

When you take so few shots, it isn’t too hard to increase your field goal percentage dramatically. Take a look at Tyson Chandler. In 2004-05, he shot 49%. He comes to New Orleans and has a good young point guard and a coach who gives him some confidence and all of a sudden, he is at 65%. Did he really become that much better offensively? Of course not, and the same can be said about Oladipo. He takes 61% of his shots at the rim, meaning he only takes about 3 per game outside of the paint. He made 1.5 of those instead of .5 of those and all of a sudden we are supposed to think he is a competent offensive player? I don’t buy it.

Meanwhile, Otto Porter showed the ability to score in a multitude of ways, even when opposition is focused on stopping him. Oladipo was not a focal point of his team’s offense, taking only 14% of his teams’ total shots on the season, while Otto Porter took more than 22% of the shots for a Georgetown team that severely lacked talent. Despite being the focus of every team’s defense, Porter was still remarkably efficient as he had aTS% of 59% and averaged over 1.4 points per shot. And unlike Oladipo, his shots came from all over the court: 21% at the rim, 50% from 6-18 feet, and 29% of his shots came from three. He was good to great from every one of those spots on the court and even performed fairly well in the post.

Victor Oladipo got nearly two shots per game off of offensive rebounds, and like I said, shot a great percentage at the rim. That’s great that he was able to do that on the college level, but how many 6’4″ guards do we see make their living on the offensive end by crashing the boards and putting it back up against the trees in the NBA? Oladipo also did a great job scoring in transition, but I don’t know how much that helps one of the slowest pace teams in the league, year after year.

What the Pelicans need is a versatile offense weapon that can score and create for others. What they can’t afford to have is another guy that teams can simply cheat off of in the half court, clogging the lane for Anthony Davis to rim run and Eric Gordon or Austin Rivers to drive. They also, quite frankly, need a small forward. Last I checked, Eric Gordon, Austin Rivers, and Greivis Vasquez are all guards and the only small forward on this roster is Darius Miller. I would never advocate taking need over best player available, but where is the evidence that Victor Oladipo is the better player? He is a limited offensive player with average defensive statistics.

If Oladipo was the better player, I would tell you to take him and worry about how to put the whole puzzle together later, but he’s not. Otto Porter is the better player AND the better fit. It’s a tough matchup, but when you look closer, the choice is clear. The choice is Otto Porter, Jr.


The Case for Victor Oladipo (Madison)

I’m excited I get to pick up the case for Oladipo because he is my absolute favorite prospect in the draft this year. And he’s probably the Pelican’s favorite as well. But, before going any further, check out the write ups about Oladipo here and here.

Refreshed? Good, let’s talk about why Oladipo’s skill set fits the Pelicans perfectly.

I’m going to start by asking you a question. We’re you happy with the team’s defense last season?

I don’t need to guess your answer since it is a big NO.

And that’s where Oladipo fits in. He is by far the top perimeter defender in the draft. His 6-foot-9 wing span allows him to be a disruptive, lockdown, ball hawking defender. His speed and athleticism allow him to close out and recover quickly to harass shooters.

Remember all those open three-pointers the Pelicans gave up this season? All the guards chasing the ball around the perimeter but unable to do anything to prevent an open shooter? Oladipo won’t fix that by himself but he certainly makes the inside out defensive style Monty wants to run even easier. And when the team is up again a premier perimeter player, you have Oladipo to mark him and try and slow him down. No more guards slashing into the paint and slicing up the defense. Defensively, Oladipo is a lot like Tony Allen. That sounds great to me–and I didn’t even mention that Oladipo finished second in the nation for steals per game.

Now the offense.

The biggest concern about Oladipo’s offensive game is based around sustainability and sample size. His three-point attempts were down but his makes went up. So people are concerned about what that tells us. I’ll answer it for you: Efficiency. No one is looking for Oladipo to create his own offense, on most nights he’ll be a third or fourth option.

What I’m looking for him to do is simply be effective in certain aspects of his offensive game. Jumping his three-point shooting to 44.1% is huge for this Pelican’s team. Court spacing is vital to Monty’s offensive system. We’ve seen how well Anderson and Davis play together and the deadly sets Monty can draw up. The problem is that those two don’t play all that much at the same time. It cannot be understand how important it is to get another player who can space the court for Davis while Anderson is on the bench. Oladipo is that guy. As we get into Part II, I’ll go into more detail as to why I do not want Otto Porter, Jr.

Part 2 will be posted on Wednesday as Michael and Jake make their counterpoints to each other’s arguments and comments left in this post. So, let us know what you think!


  1. KingJewelz

    June 17, 2013 at 8:42 am

    All man this is a Difficult Decision As I will be happy with either one of these prospects I just wish they would have worked out for the team..

    • Caffeinedisaster

      June 17, 2013 at 10:44 am

      KingJewelz I think their agents were whispering, “Don’t do it.  You’ll hurt your stock.”

  2. Caffeinedisaster

    June 17, 2013 at 9:12 am

    McNamara, you’ve got a challenge.  Tell me more about why I should want a 200 lb stick-figure to be murdered on court by Lebron…..
    And you thought the Brandon Knight jokes were bad.

    • Caffeinedisaster

      June 17, 2013 at 9:13 am

      I don’t mean to sound so down on Porter.  I’m just very high on Oladipo.  This will be the toughest round of the 6 pick tourney.

    • Michael McNamara

      June 17, 2013 at 10:16 am

      Caffeinedisaster Cool – I will adress that. 
      Keep ’em coming peeps. The counterarguments are as much about addressing YOUR concerns as the concerns of our opponent.

      • Jake Madison

        June 17, 2013 at 4:55 pm

        Michael McNamara Caffeinedisaster BRING IT MCNAMARA!

    • Major504

      June 17, 2013 at 12:44 pm

      Caffeinedisaster I have two words for you Kevin Durant. I thought he was too skinny and would get pushed around but as we all have learned, he can handle himself on the court. Not saying Porter will be that caliber of player but he has a high basketball IQ for a 20 yr old guy. So I think his weight won’t be that much of an issue.

      • 504ever

        June 17, 2013 at 1:47 pm

        Major504 Caffeinedisaster  
        I have two words for you both: Jamaal Wilkes.  Look him up!  He was a  multidimensional SF, who was “thin” like Tayshaun Price, and a multiyear all-pro and multiyear NBA champion.

        Let’s not get caught up on how thin a 20 year old college sophomore is.  AD was young and thin coming out of college, and that seemed to work out OK for him.

    • Houpgarou

      June 18, 2013 at 12:17 pm

      actually, if you look at all the sf (6-7, 6-8)  prospects, they hover around  200lb, otto is closer to the rule than the exception for his age and height.

  3. 504ever

    June 17, 2013 at 10:14 am

    If these guys are both there and I am Dell, I think I get on the phone with Sacramento and try to acquire their pick, too.  You could pick up two more key pieces of your future starting 5 with back to back picks in this draft.  A bird in the hand is better than two in bush.  So I would even trade our 2014 1st round pick for Sacramento’s 2013 #7 pick to get both of these guys.

    At this point Porter wins by a nose, but I am waiting to vote until final arguments.

    • Caffeinedisaster

      June 17, 2013 at 10:44 am

      504ever If for some reason we had the INCREDIBLE luck of choosing between these two, your observation about acquiring Sac’s pick would be excellent.  With both of these guys on the roster, that would be a dream come true.  We’d be set with a great perimeter defender and a scorer at the 3.  Our wing issues would be resolved.

    • Roger.That.

      June 17, 2013 at 2:03 pm

      504ever Agreed 100%.  You could then consider Brutus Buckeye AKA Eric Gordon expendable and could deal him for an asset at the time of your choosing (hopefully at the All Star break after he’s proven himself to be healthy).

    • thebetterdirtybirds

      June 17, 2013 at 2:58 pm

      504ever I don’t agree with you. The 2014 draft is an extremely good one. A top 20 pick in next years draft could easily be top 5 in this one. For instance, Gary Harris is the number 15 prospect in next year’s draft, and he wouldn’t fall past 8 in this one. If the high school seniors expected to go in the draft in 2014 were able to go into this draft, I wouldn’t draft Oladipo or Porter before Wiggins, Parker, Randle, Gordon, or Andrew Harrison. There are also returning freshmen like Glenn Robinson, Gary Harris, WCS and Smart that could explode next year. Right now, Draft Express has the 14th pick in the 2014 mock draft as Cauley-Stein;15 is Gary Harris. Now anything can happen to any prospect, but that means if we are the last lotto team, we get WCS; If we make the playoffs and lose in the first round and have the worst record, we get Gary Harris. If we suck again, we can get a Jabari Parker or Marcus Smart. And the best case scenario, we make a playoff run. I wouldn’t pass any of those 4 scenarios up for having both Porter and Oladipo.

      • 504ever

        June 17, 2013 at 10:44 pm

        My problem with your logic is why would all of those guys come out in 2014?  They wouldn’t!  Some would pull out, like Saric this year, to get a better draft position in 2015.  Also, they all won’t develop enough in 2013-14 to come out, like Alex Poythress this year.  Poythress was a projected lottery pick for 2013 until he played college ball.  OOOPS!  2014 draft projections are useless right now.  That’s life.

      • 504ever

        June 18, 2013 at 9:31 am


        I put a reply here earlier.  Does anyone know why/how it disappeared?

      • Michael McNamara

        June 18, 2013 at 9:54 am

        504ever thebetterdirtybirds Wasn’t anything we did. Not in our spam or trash folder.

      • 504ever

        June 18, 2013 at 10:55 am

        Michael McNamara 504ever thebetterdirtybirds 
        Now it’s there.  (The one from 12 hours ago.) So, Michael,you can delete this one on mine from 1 hour ago.

  4. shantadiva

    June 17, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    I think McNamara is ahead at this point.  Madison is going to have to make a better case.

  5. nolafredo

    June 17, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    My initial instinct is to pick Oladipo over Porter simply because Oladipo appears closer to the finished product and we can project how he’ll fit within this team whereas Porter’s versatility may also mean he’s a jack of all trades, master of none type.
    Then again, taking Oladipo might diminish the Pelicans’ trade hand with Gordon — every GM will say “you gotta take less for us to swallow his deal”.  Not to mention that Porter fills one of the two big holes in the Pels’ starting 5.  And Porter is still growing and developing.  Whereas Oladipo won’t likely get too much better, Porter’s ceiling is still unseen and coaches/GMs love to take guys they can mold.

     It’s a tough decision. Right now, all I can say is, if they’re both there at #6, I’ll be surprised and happy.  No one will have doubts about either one’s commitment, discipline and tenacity — just the kind of players we all (but specially Monty and Dell) want.

  6. Roger.That.

    June 17, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Mates, if the Cavs really to date Alexi Len with the first overall pick, it really could come to pass that Otto Porter falls to 6.  I’d be so pumped if that happened.  Talk about solidifying the rebuild and being in position for a a long and prosperous run towards the top of the West.  Our building blocks would be impeccable in Davis and Porter (with Austin Rivers as a wildcard) and nothing but great contracts and good vets filling out the roster.  So excited by the prospect of a surefire contributor like Porter instead of tiny Trey Burke, the man who needs lifts to reach 6 feet.

  7. bobmurrell

    June 17, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    So a few questions:
    1) It’s often talked about that the front office and coaching staff don’t think in terms of positions anymore – versatility is key. Players who can stretch to multiple positions is key. How do either of these players fit when playing out of their primary position (Oladipo @ 2, Porter @ 3)? What positions can they play best?
    2) Last year, we heard pundits say AD’s strength was defense, and he lacked in offense. We saw his offensive production exceed expectations in his first year. Can we expect the same from either of these gentlemen (credit the coaching staff), or is AD just a beast?
    3) Smart move is to draft best player available, not to fill immediate needs. However, the team has concerns at both the 2 and the 3. If the team drafts Oladipo, who’s the odd-man out in terms of minutes in the backcourt? Do we give GV some minutes at the 3? If the team drafts Porter, does that mean the backcourt is finalized from last year’s minutes?

  8. lsutigers33

    June 17, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    i have to go with Olidipo b/c of his athletic ability and more upside

  9. reubes

    June 17, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    I agree with Madison that Dipo is a lot like Tony Allen. But my guess is that Porter is the next Luol Deng. Though both are great players, I’d take Deng over Allen any day of the week. Madison: Do you agree with me that it is reasonable to have Deng-like expectations of Porter? If so, can you say why I should prefer Dipo to Deng?

    • Houpgarou

      June 18, 2013 at 12:14 pm

      think the most fitting dipo comparison is schumpert.  Great athlete, great motor, sometimes jumper.  Would love to have schumpert on pels, seems like the best to hope for from this draft crop.

  10. JJacob

    June 17, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    I think Porter is more Nic Batum than Deng.

    • Houpgarou

      June 18, 2013 at 12:19 pm

      disagree. the question with otto is if he is athletic enough, batum is a straigh athlete who is filling out in the skill dept. while his career progresses.

  11. Houpgarou

    June 18, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    do you take the more well rounded guy or the guy who is the greatest athlete?  the spurs take the 1st, most teams the 2nd.  when the 1st guy is also 4 inches taller and plays a position of great need, that’s your man.  
    to me the x-factor variable for these two is: who is more promising to develop nba 3 pt range?  whichever you pick, you are counting on them being able to do that to be an effective to great rotational player.  a defensive two guard and low athleticism 3 must be able to stretch the defense

  12. Pingback: New Orleans Pelicans 6th Pick Tournament: Porter vs. Oladipo | New Orleans Pelicans |

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