Sixth Pick Tournament Round One: Otto Porter, Jr. vs. Dennis Schroeder

Published: June 2, 2013

In another Round One matchup, Georgetown small forward Otto Porter, Jr. squares off against German point guard Dennis Schroeder.

The Case for Otto Porter (McNamara)

Darius Miller.

That is how the depth chart currently reads at the small forward position for the New Orleans Pelicans. Al-Farouq Aminu’s option wasn’t picked up and Xavier Henry is finally off of our books, so the Pelicans go into the offseason with no short term or long term answers at the position that the two best players in the NBA play. I would never advocate picking for need in the NBA Draft, but when the best player on the board just so happens to play your greatest position of need, that is every GM’s dream scenario. If Porter slips by Washington at three and Phoenix at five, Dell Demps will be staring dead on at his dream scenario and should not hesitate for a second to select Porter.

Otto Porter had a breakout sophomore season this year at Georgetown after simply dominating the summer league circuit last July. He played better than expected in his freshman season, but wasn’t satisfied and said the following about his focus that summer, “Everything that was a weakness, I tried working on.” (Full Article here, a great read) Even with high expectations after his freshman year, he exceeded every single one of them by being named a Consensus First Team All-American after stuffing the stat sheet all year and leading a very weak Hoyas squad to a 2nd seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Porter was good or excellent in every single category. Literally, every category. 9th in the Big East in points (16.2), 3rd in efective field goal percentage (.541), 3rd in offensive win shares (4.2), 4th in defensive win shares (3.1) , 2nd in total win shares (7.2). He led the Big East in field goal percentage amongst eligible players (48%), was 9th in free throws made (122), 5th in rebounds per game (7.5), 6th in steals per game (1.8), 4th in offensive rating (122.3), and 3rd in defensive rating (85.0). 7th in the Big East in turnover percentage (10.0), 2nd among wing players in blocks (0.9), and 3rd in PER (27.3).

That is a long way of saying he can do it all. But he can, and it’s not a “capable of all, but master of none” type of scenario like we have seen in the past (looking at you Julian Wright). He is an excellent defensive player who is capable of making high impact plays without fouling or  taking chances that hurt his team. He is also a terrific defensive rebounder. Remember, Georgetown plays at one of the slowest paces in the NCAA, but when you look at his pace adjusted numbers, he is the top rebounding small forward in this class with a career average of 9.2 per 40 minutes pace adjusted. He also was very good offensively in the low post, shooting over 48% on the block this year. When teams cover him one-on-one down there, he scores or gets to the line, and when they double, he is able to hit the open man with regularity.

While there are countless tangibles that showcase Porter’s impact on the court, the intangibles he brings might actually be his strongest selling point. His basketball IQ is off the charts, as evidenced by the fact that his assist to turnover ratio was 2nd amongst small forwards in this draft class. He played in a very sophisticated offense at Georgetown that stressed patience and off ball movement and Porter thrived both as a playmaker and as a scorer. He read what defenses were trying to do against him and took what they gave him, rather than forcing the issue. Evidence of this can be seen in Georgetown’s two meetings with Syracuse late in the regular season. In the first game, Syracuse played him straight up and Porter scored 33 points on 19 shots. Two weeks later the teams met again and Syracuse doubled him every time he touched the ball, so Porter took just 7 shots. Instead of scoring, he patiently set up the offense and had a season high 7 assists and probably another dozen hockey assists.

Critics of Porter label him a high end role player, as if this is some kind of an insult. I am not going to argue that he has the potential to be the next Lebron or Durant, but the comparisons to Luol Deng, Kawhi Leonard, or even Tayshaun Prince in his prime are nothing to sneeze at, especially in this years’ draft. To some, dunks and behind the back passes are sexy. To me, winning is sexy and guys like Porter help you win games. With the ability to do so many things at a high level, Porter becomes the Pelicans swiss army knife, giving them what they need when they need it. If he has the mismatch, he can score. If they need him to focus on shutting down a wing player on the defensive end, he can do that too. Help on the glass on or weakside D? Porter can do that. What if an elite defender like Avery Bradley or Eric Bledsoe is pressuring our PG and preventing him from setting up the offense? No worries, you can run the offense through Otto Porter.

Dennis Schroeder is an intriguing high risk, high reward prospect and if the Pelicans trade down to the middle of the first round, he is one of the guys we should consider. But this is the Sixth Pick Tournament, and we are debating what the Pelicans should do if all of these options are available to them with that pick. The thought of taking a raw prospect who has put up solid numbers against the equivalent of above average high school basketball teams, just because he had a few solid days at the Nike Hoops Summit is preposterous. The guy has a freakish wingspan and appears to be quick against poor competition, but his height, weight, and vertical are all subpar. It’s also not entirely clear that he is a point guard. Again, against poor competition he averaged just 3.3 assists to 2.5 turnovers, a ratio that is 60% worse than the small forward he is competing against in this matchup.

Schroeder is an intriguing prospect and a great story, but this is the Sixth Pick Tournament. No disrespect, but the guy only deserves to be discussed in Mason’s Trade Down argument. He has no place here.

Draft Express Video         Combine Interview         12-13 Highlights

The Case for Dennis Schroeder (Gerrity)

After competing in Basketball Bundesliga (the top German league) against full grown men for the past year, it’s clear that Schroeder is a top level talent, and a serious candidate to jump up draft boards and past his fellow guards.

Upon entering the NBA he would immediately be one of the quickest players on any team, as capable as anyone of slowing down opposing point guards. “The first thing is defense,” Schroeder said in a pre-draft interview.

But… but… BUCKETZ

While there’s no doubt that Schroeder has some ball handling skills (check out these spin moves!), an already solid shot (40% from three point land on 3.3 attempts per game), and the the first step of a mongoose, it’s the defensive side of the ball where he really seeks to make the biggest impact.

He compares himself to Rajon Rondo (not as a shooter, don’t worry!), and perhaps it’s not so surprising that the Celtics have already reportedly given him a guarantee if he falls that far. While he’s only 6’1 or 6’2, he has a 6’7 wingspan which combined with his speed gives him the rare ability to actually have a fair shot containing the fastest of NBA point guards. A backcourt of Schroeder and Eric Gordon would be suffocating, especially with Anthony Davis manning the middle to plug up any leaks. While no NBA defense is going to truly impenetrable, that core has the potential to make it a heck of a lot harder for opposing players to score.

“The first thing is defense,” Monty Williams certainly said at one point…

But let’s talk about offense, where Schroeder also contributes in a positive manner. In 25 minutes per game this season (against men, not boys, mind you), Schroeder averaged 12.0 points, 3.2 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game. Catch and shoot jumpers, a skill that translates well from just about anywhere to the NBA, were a specialty of Schroeder. In all of European League basketball he was the 6th most efficient of all on the catch and shoot, averaging 1.56 points per shot on 1.7 shots per game.

That kind of shooting skill combined with blistering speed makes him a mighty hard man to play defense against, especially in the NBA where double teaming is a necessity at times and the surrounding cast is a bit more capable of laying waste to a defense than their counterparts in Europe. Leaving Schroeder open in favor of helping out a struggling defender elsewhere seems like obvious disaster considering how good he is at shooting. At the same time, Schroeder is so fast that sticking only one man on him when he has the ball won’t even work in a coach’s dream once Schroeder has the opportunity to put on some pounds and improve his ability to finish inside.

His German competition may at first glance leave something to be desired, but he suited it up at the Nike Hoop Summit not too long ago and tore it up. Playing on the same team as incoming freshman phenom Andrew Wiggins (next year’s presumptive number one pick) and against top American-born players like Andrew Harrison, Julius Randle and Jabari Parker, Schroeder took care of business and then some.

He excelled in practices during the week and played well in the actual game, finishing with 18 points (one more than Wiggins) on 5 of 10 shooting to go along with six assists. More importantly, the opposition’s highly-touted backcourt of Harrison and Kasey Hill finished the night a combined 5 for 16 from the field, a testament to Schroeder’s defense.

As for Otto Porter, it’s hard to really argue against the guy. I’m not expecting to win this matchup this since Porter is widely considered a legitimate option for the number one pick and Schroeder is… well… not. It’s hard to argue with the consensus of NBA scouts.

It won’t surprise me to find that Schroeder is more highly regarded than Porter after year one, or even at the end of their careers, but it would truly surprise me if an argument existed that could convince the majority of you readers to vote that he will.

The most I can hope for is that you truly consider just how great Schroeder can be… and perhaps throw me a mercy vote.

[polldaddy poll=7144130]

For previous matchups in this tournament and the tournament bracket, click here.


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