Georgetown has vastly exceeded expectations thus far this season with a stellar 12-1 record and a top-10 national ranking. While upperclassmen Hollis Thompson, Henry Sims and Jason Clark are playing very well, freshman Otto Porter has emerged from relative obscurity as an essential component to this success on both ends of the floor. Having never played AAU basketball and coming from a very small town in Missouri, Porter was not highly recruited, but his recent success has landed him on scouts' radars as a prospect to watch.
At 6'9 with a very long wingspan and a rail-thin 205-pound frame, Porter has excellent size for the small forward position, even if he must get significantly stronger before he can make an impact at the next level. This is especially important considering his lack of elite athleticism, as he is more fluid and smooth than quick or explosive. Though his intelligence and instincts allow him to compensate somewhat at this level, he will have to maximize his physical potential to contribute at the next level.
Despite playing 27.7 minutes per game and possessing an intriguing skill set relative to his size and age, Porter is not a big scorer at this stage, averaging just 8.5 points per game on 6.4 field goal attempts, ranking sixth on Georgetown's roster in usage rate.
Part of this has to do with his perimeter shooting woes, an area in which he desperately needs to improve. While fairly effective making shots in the mid-range area (primarily from 12-15 feet), Porter shoots just 18.5% from beyond the arc on two attempts per game. His mechanics are very deliberate and his release is inconsistent at best, ranging from a compressed shooting motion to a lack of follow through. Getting stronger may help him develop greater range on his shot, but considering how awkward his mechanics are, there's a possibility that he may have to completely overhaul his stroke at some stage to become an acceptable long-range shooter.
Where Porter excels at the moment is doing the little things inside the arc. He converts an astounding 69% of his 2-point attempts (3rd best in our database), moving off the ball extremely well in Georgetown's half-court offense, and finding spaces to catch the ball and finish around the basket or with a mid-range jumper. He's a prolific offensive rebounder, utilizing his excellent length, savvy and aggressiveness to come up with plenty of loose balls. He is also an extremely unselfish player who facilitates ball movement with his passing all over the floor.
Porter must continue to develop his ball-handling skills to make the full conversion to the small forward position. Right now he is primarily a straight-line dribbler, struggling when forced to change directions with the ball. He has not shown the ability to create his own shot on a consistent basis yet, partially due to Georgetown's system, partially due to his somewhat passive style, and partially due to his rudimentary ball-handling skills. It will be interesting to see how he develops in this area, particularly since he is not a prolific shooter.
Defensively, Porter lacks the strength to guard post players and the lateral quickness to guard small forwards, but he is able to compensate somewhat due to his length and his awareness. He would be well served to improve his defensive stance, as his propensity to stand completely upright certainly contributes to his struggles defending the perimeter. That being said, Porter is already establishing himself as an intelligent and aggressive defender, never giving up after getting beaten and remaining a factor even while trailing his man. He must continue to maximize his physical potential because he shows intriguing abilities despite his lack of elite athleticism.
Though Porter is a very raw and unconventional basketball player at this point, all indications suggest that he is an intelligent individual with a good work ethic. As he continues to mature physically, it will be interesting to see how his skill-set evolves, as he's clearly still an early stage of his learning curve. Being one of the youngest members of this freshman class, not turning 19 for another six months, time is clearly on his side. [Read Full Article]