By Bob Evans
While the majority of Cleveland Cavaliers’ fans were licking their wounds after a tough home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night, many talent evaluators had their eyes fixed squarely on a big day for college basketball on Saturday. With the 2013 NBA Draft just a few months away, the Cavaliers will have another opportunity to grab an impact player in the lottery to join forces with Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters—and one player stood out more than any other.
No, I am not talking about the return of Duke’s Ryan Kelly, who had a 36-point performance against No. 5 Miami. The player who stood out as a future running mate for Irving and the rest of the Cavaliers’ youngsters is Georgetown small forward Otto Porter Jr.
Admittedly, Porter was not even on this writer’s radar coming into the season. It took a Facebook/bar conversation with one of my friends which led to some heavy film study. And after countless hours of past game film and his current production, Porter is a must have if the Cavaliers have an opportunity to select him.
Outside of the obvious hole in the starting lineup at small forward, the Cavaliers need a player of Porter’s caliber to run with Irving. At 6’8” and 210 pounds, Porter is a slashing wing player who possesses at 7’1” wingspan. He plays very well off the ball, but can also turn it up at any time—as evidenced by his recent performances on the season.
Porter poured it on Rutgers on Saturday night, hitting 6-of-12 from the field and 15-of-18 from the free throw line for 28 points, eight rebounds and an astounding four steals. His dominance propelled the No. 7 team in the nation over the Scarlet Knights, but it was not a flash in the pan performance for Porter.
Currently averaging more than 16 points and seven rebounds per game, Porter has been on a tear of late. He dropped 22 points and five rebounds in the team’s last game against Connecticut, but had an even more impressive 33-point, eight rebound, five steal performance in a win over then No. 8 Syracuse.
The most impressive part of Porter’s season has been his ability to score both inside and out, as he hit 5-of-10 from three-point land against Syracuse and 3-of-4 against Connecticut.
Porter is more comfortable slashing though, as scouting reports coming into the season tabbed him as a raw prospect with a developing jump shot. For those who haven’t watched him since before the 2012-2013 season—his jump shot has developed.
Being young and raw, he will obviously have off nights but his defensive prowess and ability to play off the ball would be perfect complements to Irving and Waiters. While both of those players look to score, Porter will have plenty of opportunities to score slashing and doing what he does best—getting to the rim.
It is obviously very early in the process, and nobody know where the Cavaliers will end up once the ping pong balls fall at the lottery. But there is a lot to like about the Georgetown product’s game—and those things to like are all major needs for the Cavaliers.
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