NEW YORK – Say it out loud. Write it in Comic Sans.
Georgetown small forward Otto Porter is the best fit for the Cavaliers with the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft.
He isn’t the popular choice. He isn’t the best prospect in the wide-open field, a title that belongs to Kentucky power forward Nerlens Noel or Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore, according to a consensus of front offices, with Maryland center Alex Len also in the conversation. By that assessment, he isn’t even the best prospect coming out of the D.C. area.
But Porter is the best call.
He knows because he has studied it. He has looked at the Cavaliers roster and come to the accurate conclusion. Rising star Kyrie Irving at the point, Dion Waiters at shooting guard, Tristan Thompson heading toward averaging double-digit rebounds at power forward leaves one spot in particular.
“They’re missing a piece,” Porter said Wednesday at a Midtown hotel during a media session with top prospects prior to the draft Thursday night in Brooklyn. “I feel like that’s where I come into play.”
The Cavaliers could also be missing a starting center, depending on the development of Tyler Zeller after a rookie season of 7.9 points and 5.7 rebounds in 25.4 minutes, not to mention the boost to the big-man rotation with the expected return of Anderson Varejao. That’s where Len comes into play. But Len, for all the praise that has come his way in the vacuum of the underwhelming 2013 class, wouldn’t have been close to the debate for No. 1 a year ago or, likely, a year from now. He might not be a dramatic upgrade from Zeller/Varejao, and Cleveland could have the chance to go power forward-center among several possibilities that will realistically be on the board at 19.
Porter at No. 1 also makes sense because the Cavs don’t worry about public opinion, a reality never more obvious than ignoring conventional wisdom in 2011 by using the fourth pick on Thompson. Not caring about winning the news conference would be especially beneficial during the reaction to a lottery regular using the first pick on someone other than the best player.
The best perspective? If Cleveland had No. 3 instead and took Porter, it would be commended for making the right move, just as the Wizards, also needing a small forward, will be if they take Porter. Two spots is not a reach.
And it’s not like the Cavaliers would be turning their back on some super-prospect to take him, given the concerns surrounding the players at the top of most ratings. The solid pick isn’t such a bad concept in a year when the lottery picks have big holes, and that is solid in a good way. Teams are not projecting Porter as an All-Star, usually the minimum return on a No. 1, but he defends, passes, rebounds, has three-point range, a good basketball IQ, is 6-foot-8 and 200 pounds, and had two seasons as a prominent part of a major program that faced top competition, including 2012-13 as Big East Player of the Year.
“I feel like that my game and my versatility, what I do, I feel like it deserves No. 1,” Porter said. “I feel that I have the best fit to be No. 1.”
There. Someone said it out loud.