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.


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For past Sixth Pick Tournament Matchups, click here


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

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