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

Published: June 19, 2013

Part One featured opening arguments for each prospect. Part two features counterpoints and gives you the chance to vote for who you think should make it to the finals of the sixth pick tournament. 

The Case for Otto Porter (McNamara)

My opponent and our readers brought up some arguments that supported taking Oladipo over Porter. That’s fine, I don’t run from a fight, especially when I have the superior soldiers. Let’s do this.

Claim # 1

That’s where Oladipo fits in. He is by far the top perimeter defender in the draft.

– Jake Madison

And this is based on what exactly? Where is the empirical evidence that supports this claim? Are we supposed to just believe it because you say so? That is not good enough for me, especially when analytic expert Bradford Doolittle sees it differently. According to Doolittle’s ATH system, Oladipo is 70th in defensive rating, 41st in steals, and 52nd in blocks. Also, per Synnergy Sports, Oladipo ranks 81st in isolation situations.

Yes, we saw Oladipo make big defensive plays in big games and his effort is always there, but don’t let that blind you. Don’t overvalue a guy’s defense just because he tries hard and because he is extremely like-able. The cold, hard facts say that Oladipo was very mediocre defensively. They definitely don’t say that he is “by far the top perimeter defender in the draft.”

Claim #2

The 200 pound stick figure [Porter] figures to be murdered on the court by Lebron

– CaffeineDisaster

You know that guy who got a big block on Lebron James in Game 5; that guy named Danny Green? Well, he was only 7 pounds heavier than Otto Porter, Jr. coming into the league. Or how about Trevor Ariza, who came into the league at the same age and weight. When he was locked in, he was a pretty dominant defender, wasn’t he? Stacey Augmon was five pounds lighter and he was one of the best defensive players in the 90’s.

The fact is that Porter is a little slight, but the guy just turned 20 years old a few weeks ago. As our podcast guest from Casual Hoya pointed out, Georgetown players are notorious for coming into the league with a slight build because weight training isn’t a big part of their program. But those guys (Green, Monroe, and Hibbert) get into the league and have no problem whatsoever putting on weight. Porter is about 15 pounds from being where Paul George is right now. You know, the Paul George that was one of the top 3 perimeter defenders in the league this year.

Will Porter ever be able to push around Lebron, or even stand his ground on a regular basis? No, but who can? If you want to have somebody to physically match up with him, you need to draft a power forward, maybe even a center. But with Porter’s 7’2″ standing reach and 8’10” standing reach, he has plenty of length to give headaches to the small forwards in the league that are actually human.

Claim #3

Oladipo appears closer to being a finished product

– Nolafredo

When I think of a finished product in basketball, I think of a guy who has mastered, or at least acquired, all skills. Oladipo has mastered defensive intensity. He is a very good offensive rebounder, a tenacious on-ball defender, and can finish at the rim. But what other skills can you point to and say, “Yeah, Oladipo’s got the ability to do THAT in the NBA,”? Meanwhile, I look at Porter and he can create for himself, create for others, finish at the rim, finish behind the arc. He can hit mid-range jumpers and operate out of both the high and low post. He is very good on the ball and off the ball as a defender and has a great defensive rebound rate for a small forward. He also doesn’t foul and doesn’t turn the ball over, and he blocks more shots than Oladipo.

Honestly, what can’t Porter do? With Victor Oladipo, you are hoping that when you give him more shots that he stays efficient. You are hoping that when you put the ball in his hands and ask him to create for others, that he won’t turn it over. You are hoping he can develop a mid-range game. Otto Porter did all these things this year; you don’t have to “hope.”

Final Statement

This piece, along with part one makes something blatantly clear – Victor Oladipo is good, but Otto Porter is better. He is more versatile and he proved that he can carry the load as the #1 guy on a very bad roster. Victor Oladipo was basically a role player on offense for Indiana. If he was capable of creating for himself  and others or hitting mid-range shots, why didn’t Indiana put the ball in his hands more? If he could only get eight shots a game on a college team that could have used an offensive boost, how is he all of a sudden going to be an offensive threat in the NBA where guys are infinitely more skilled?

Otto Porter’s versatility and ability to do so many things on both ends is invaluable. His game is Spurs-like, to be honest, and that is what we are trying to become. Combine that with the fact that he fills, by far, the biggest need and I don’t know how you can say no. And I don’t think you will, because I think you will vote for Otto Porter, Jr.


The Case for Victor Oladipo (Madison)

Quickly, recaps of why Oladipo is awesome are herehere and here. Check them out for a refresher.

I have a lot of concerns about Otto Porter, Jr. First and foremost is this guy is a 6-foot 9 small forward with over a 7-foot 1 wing span, why is he only attempting 21% of his shots at the rim? By comparison the 6-foot 4 Victor Oladipo takes 61% of his attempts there. Those are the most efficient shots in the game, you absolutely want players getting looks at the rim. Oladipo is a strong finisher making 70% of his attempts up close.

Even more interesting is that only 38% of Oladipo’s makes at the rim were assisted. Compare that to the 50% of Porter, Jr. While neither player is going to be the number 1 offensive option on the Pelicans, Oladipo is clearly able to create his own offense when needed–that’s useful for playing with the second unit or stepping up when a one someone else is having an off game.

The most inefficient shots in basketball? The midrange jumper. Don’t get me wrong, it has a place in the game, but you don’t want a team getting the majority of their looks from that distance. 50% of Porter, Jr.’s shots are 2-pointers. Oladipo on the other hand takes only 17% of his shots from that distance. 83% of Oladipo’s shots are from deep or at the rim. I’m the type of guy who loves efficiency and Mr. Victor has all the makings of an efficient NBA player. Otto Porter, Jr.? Not so much.

One of the biggest knocks against Porter, Jr. has been his weight. Sure, his length is great, but he weighs only 198 pounds. This doesn’t concern me as bulk can be added to help from getting pushed around. Anthony Davis was also a bean pole coming into the league last season and I don’t think anyone would regret taking him. What does concern me is his strength. Porter, Jr. finished with 9 bench press reps at the combine. That’s incredibly lackluster. As I said, bulk can be added to stop from getting knocked around, but adding strength and muscle is an entirely different animal. You need to be strong to finish at the rim, to take the fouls and still get the bucket. I’m not sure Porter, Jr. can do that. Oladipo doesn’t have that same concern, clocking in a solid 15 bench press reps.

Porter Jr’s ability to continue developing his 3-point shot worries me. Have you seen him shoot? He’s got some awful mechanics. It’s possible that he can work on that to develop NBA 3-point range, but all that work will come at the expense of another area where he can improve. Oladipo on the other hand has a very fluid shot and it should just take him lots of reps to become a court spacer for the Pelicans.

I said on Monday I see Oladipo’s defense being Tony Allen-esque. Monty’s defensive system requires a perimeter defender who can harass opposing players. Vasquez even mentioned the same thing to Mason and I at Chipotle a few weeks ago. A lockdown wing defender is massively important–even more so in the playoffs–and Oladipo, with his 6-foot 9 wingspan is that type of player.

I see Porter Jr.’s game in the vein of Tashaun Prince. That’s cool and all, but this is the 6th pick, I’m not taking Prince that high.

Oladipo also seamlessly fits into a 3 guard lineup. Monty has said he intends to play Vasquez at the 3 spot more which allows for a lineup of Gordon, Oladipo and Vasquez. In that case you can hide Vasquez with how strong of a defender Oladipo is. Oladipo’s wingspan also allows him to play the 3 if need be. However, this is not something I’d expect a ton of.

But where does Porter, Jr. fit outside of the small forward position? He’d get bullied defensively as a stretch 4 and doesn’t have the explosiveness to get by larger defenders.

Overall, it’s not even a contest. Oladipo fits the Pelicans so incredibly well that if he is available at 6, Dell Demps will be running to the phone.



For past Sixth Pick Tournament Matchups, click here


  1. Biasvasospasm

    June 19, 2013 at 8:58 am

    I would have picked Porter regardless, as I just love his game and fit too much not to, but some of the arguments against Porter are weak.
    In general, the midrange jump shot is a bad shot. If taken as an 18 foot pullup, a la Rudy Gay or Monta Ellis, it is a terrible shot. But playoff defenses know this and as a result of denying at-rim looks by packing the paint and scrambling out to shooters, it is available. It will be there whether you’re playing the Kings or the Grizzlies. Can you hit it at a rate that it becomes efficient? Otto Porter can. He shot an adjusted 51% on spot-up jumpers. That’s a valuable thing to have around when defenses are taking away your best stuff.
    And who cares about the bench press? There is no basketball move except for maybe the outlet

    • Biasvasospasm

      June 19, 2013 at 9:13 am

      pass which even approximates that muscle group. It is roughly as pertinent as, say, a player’s ability to speak Portugese, or grow tulips. It certainly hasn’t affected Kevin Durant, he of zero reps.

    • Caffeinedisaster

      June 19, 2013 at 9:24 am

      Biasvasospasm I care about the bench press.  You’ve got 3s out there (Bron/Melo) that consistently bully weaker guys in the post and can score at will.  I’m not saying Porter won’t get stronger.  
      After all, he’s just a kid right now.  He lacks NBA athleticism.  
      I can only think of a handful of guys that have had a great career without athleticism, and they’ve either been huge/strong or deadeye from the 3-point line.

      • Biasvasospasm

        June 19, 2013 at 3:12 pm

        I’m not saying functional strength isn’t important, it is, just that the bench press isn’t measuring anything that is done in the sport of basketball. When do you use your chest muscles to extend your arms against resistance in basketball? Using the bench press as some catch-all marker of strength for a bunch of guys with freakishly long arms is really silly.

  2. Caffeinedisaster

    June 19, 2013 at 9:17 am

    The college game is very different from the pro game.  That is why guys with elite size or athleticism usually translate better than guys that are already skilled.  That’s because they have a COLLEGE skillset.
    We NEED a 3, but we also need a lot of other things.  This is not yet a playoff team.(maybe in the eastern conference)
    I love Porter’s game, but I had to pick Oladipo.
    I would not be disappointed if we picked up either. (These are my top 2 on my big board)

  3. twowatt8

    June 19, 2013 at 9:29 am

    McNamara with the perimiter D dagger. Damn, there goes Oladipo’s claim to fame . . .

  4. mojart

    June 19, 2013 at 9:36 am

    I pick porter because he is a position of need and he will be an upgrade over AFA….cased closed….:-)

    • Caffeinedisaster

      June 19, 2013 at 2:49 pm

      mojart  Eric Gordon has played just 247 games out of 394 in his first 5 seasons.
      Don’t we also need a SG that wants to be in NOLA and can play games?

  5. Houpgarou

    June 19, 2013 at 10:12 am

    – where are the defensive ratings for porter from the dolittle system?
    – tayshaun with the sixth pick is supposed to be a bad thing?  he was a vital component of a championship team. with this weak draft, that would be a total score at 6
    – best argument for otto:  the versatility, ability to pass, shoot, and defend makes him a spurs type player meet the needs of the system we are trying to build
    – best argument for dipo, him being the more likely to have the mechanics to be a consistent nba 3 point shooter, something that is critical for both of these guys in terms of being contributors for years to come
    still unable to make my mind up, but the 6-8 has me leaning porter

  6. nolafredo

    June 19, 2013 at 10:40 am

    In the end, I took Porter.  Because it’s proving harder and harder to fill that 3-spot with a quality player.  Set aside the superstars (Bron, KD, Melo). You then have quality SFs like Batum, Deng and George or former superstars like Pierce and MWP.  And then you end up with a pile of decent players who can specialize in one aspect of the game (shooting, defense) but lack in others.  Or you trade for Rudy Gay (you don’t trade for Rudy Gay).
    Meanwhile guards are becoming more and more flexible.  You can have traditional PG/SG combos, combo G pairings where both guys can touch the ball and run plays, tiny backcourts, large backcourts.  It’s far easier to find a guard and either put him at the 1 or the 2 depending on where the matchups dictate such decisions.  
    I love Oladipo and if he’s there, it’ll be tough to pass on him. But in this contest, I have to take Porter and fill a hole, add talent and take an asset that is becoming scarcer in the NBA of today.

  7. JabberWalker

    June 19, 2013 at 11:52 am

    I love both these players but I’m going with Porter.  In my opinion they have similar ceilings (maybe Oladipo’s athleticism gets him a little higher) but Porter has by far the lowest floor.  Porter has proven to make high basketball IQ plays like make the extra pass, knowing how to rebound, and pick his spots when shooting.  I was surprised there was little mention of Oladipo’s competitive intensity and crazy motor.  Those are two things that work well in his favor.

  8. 504ever

    June 19, 2013 at 11:54 am

    Went with Porter: well rounded skill set (and need) over more athleticism.  But seriously, how could you go wrong here if either guy is available at 6?

  9. Houpgarou

    June 19, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Slightly off topic – like I predicted a while back, Dallas no 13 is said to be had for a team willing to take Marion’s contract. Hope dell will seriously consider this as there no fa I am really in love with. Marion could be a good influence in locker room, we’d still have some cap for a less than max fa, and we might get a nice prospect at 13 ( Schroeder, Adams, adetonkebo, etc.)

  10. Houpgarou

    June 19, 2013 at 2:08 pm

  11. jsl05

    June 19, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Oladipo’s toughness, athleticism, tenacious D, rebounding, and motor are all elite.  Porter is good at a little bit of everything, but he isn’t exactly elite.  
    Oladipo is very versatile defensively.  He can guard 1’s and 2’s and maybe even some 3’s (6’9″ wingspan helps)
    I’d be glad with either one, but I would take Oladipo before Porter.

  12. bPre1

    June 19, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    The only issue I have with Otto’s weight is that so much of his game is predicated on his post game. Other “light” players mentioned (D. Green & P. George specifically) work, offensively, outside-in. Otto would have to work on his perimeter drives and shooting to have any success at his weight. But, due to his length, he can be a weapon defensively (especially coming off the bench) early in his career.

  13. PelicanFever

    June 19, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    I voted Oladipo. He’s the best prospect in this draft and is considerably young for his graduating class (something I pay attention to greatly). He’ll be able to guard both guard positions at elite, maybe even All-NBA level. He rebounds with the best of them at his position. He makes plays when they’re not there. His shot has improved considerably. He knows how and when to make cuts. His ball handling will need to get a little bit better, but even if it doesn’t, you at least have a solid starter in the NBA. If it does, you could have a top 5-10 player at the position. 
    You take BPA unless you’re completely set at a position like we are at PF. I think it’s clear that Eric Gordon is not in the future (5 years onward) plans. There will be other times to fill in SF. There won’t be many if any opportunities to grab a prospect like Oladipo and have his rights for up to 9 years.

    • CoReMeGa

      June 19, 2013 at 6:47 pm

      PelicanFever Completely agree!!! I think there will be a lot of busts in this draft and I could see Porter being one of them. I can’t see Oladipo failing. Seems like a Monty type player and for everyones love of Bledsoe on this site.. I see him at least being a bigger version of Bledsoe!

  14. lsucpolk

    June 19, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    I would be excited if either of these two fell to the Pelicans, but I chose Porter.

  15. Josh from downaroad

    June 20, 2013 at 4:23 am

    It was a hard choice but I voted Porter because to me this draft is weak at the SF position but is really deep at the SG position which i will delve on more soon. Ok so we draft Porter to be our starting SF for the next decade, who in my opinion has a floor of Tashaun Prince and a ceiling of Scottie Pippin. At this point in the draft with Porter having fallen to the 6th pick, most likely Noel, Len, Bennett, Oladipo, and McLemore are all gone. That leaves Burke, Mccollum, and MCW with SAC and DET at the 7th and 8th picks respectively. SAC will go with the flashiest guard on the board, to me Mccollum will be their choice, which allows DET to draft their top prospect all the way at the 8th pick in Burke (who I’m really high on) That leaves Minny at 9, they need a SG to space the floor and help Rubio in the back court but their top 2 prospects are long gone. And then what do you know here comes Dell Demps to save the day. He dangles Eric Gordon in front of them all for the low price of the 9th and 26th picks. Minny being the horrible decision makers they are accept the deal thinking they have won LOL. So the Pells are sitting there at 9 with a hole at the 2 guard spot and draft the 6 ft 6 inch shooting guard out of Georgia, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. He becomes our 3 and D 2 guard (our Danny Green if you will). And with the 26th pick we get Tony Snell from New Mexico to be our backup SG/SF. Then in free agency we go HARD after Al Jefferson and move Robin Lopez for a couple of second round picks in the 2014 NBA draft. Our lineup for the 2013-2014 season would be Vasquez at PG, KCP as our SG, Porter at the SF, Davis at the PF spot, with Big Al as our C. This starting lineup has ball movement, 3 point shooting, defensive intensity on the wing and in the post, and a post game offensively. Coming off the bench we have Rivers running the second unit with Snell, Miller, Anderson, and Smith respectively. This second unit has youth, solid defense at every position, a 3 point and mid-range game, and the ability to run. Then to round out the roster we keep Roberts, Mason Jr, Thomas, and Amundson. This roster has it all. Our young core of Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers, Otto Porter Jr, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and lets not forget Ryan Anderson. Our veteran leadership will come from Al Jefferson, Jason Smith, and Roger Mason Jr. Our toughness and hustle will come from Jason Smith, Louis Amundson, and Lance Thomas. And we have young, cheap developmental/role players in Tony Snell, Darius Miller, and Brian Roberts. All of these guys are hard working and want to win. We have roster flexibility for the next few years, time to keep developing our young guys to become the players they can be, a VERY strong locker room, and no Cancerous attitudes.

  16. maxdf3

    June 20, 2013 at 4:33 am

    Can Oladipo play small forward? you mention the 3 guard line-up, is that a lineup we could start? If yes I take him, if no then a I take Porter. Call me stupid, but I want the Pelicans to get a guy they can start from the word go, someone that helps the rebuild. Not a bench player that gets 10-15 minutes a game.

  17. Pingback: Truth About It » Of Pace and Peaks and the Limits of Porter’s Potential

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