NBA GM's looking to add an immediate impact to their lineup in the 2013 NBA Draft need to look no further than Georgetown small forward Otto Porter.
As interesting as this year's draft class is, the race for rookie of the year should be even more intriguing. With many of the first-round talents in the class looking like long-term projects, there aren't many players that are ready to be inserted into an NBA lineup right away.
However, Porter should be considered an early front runner for the award. Here's why.
In a draft that doesn't have many players ready to play right away, Porter's physical and mental maturity should make him a candidate to log major minutes early on.
At 6'7.5" and 198 pounds, Porter has the size necessary to contribute right away as NBA small forward. While additional bulk would make him a more complete player and allow him to do some damage in post-up situations, he has more than enough size to play a similar role that he did at Georgetown.
Beyond his size, Porter has a well-rounded game that will allow him to crack the starting lineup in the early stages of the regular season.
If there's an important stat, chances are that Porter was among the leaders in the highly competitive Big East Conference. He was fifth in the conference in rebounds (7.5 per game), fifth in steals (1.8 per game), third in player efficiency rating (27.3) and third in effective field goal percentage (54.1 percent).
In short, Porter is a do-it-all athlete that showcased a keen sense for the game. That's the kind of player that won't take long to learn the ins and outs of the pro game.
Opportunity on a Growing Team
Being a rookie of the year candidate isn't entirely up to the prospect. The amount of playing time a team can carve out for the prospect play a big role.
Fortunately for Porter, that shouldn't be an issue. It's fair to say he will have a large role with whatever team ends up taking him in the first round.
As previously mentioned, he's one of the most well-rounded prospects in the draft. His defensive ability makes him a candidate to be a situational defender. His abilities as a two-way player make him a threat to be in the starting lineup right away.
The best news for Porter is that his high draft stock means he'll be drafted by a team that needs him. Porter could go as high as No. 3 to the Washington Wizards and doesn't figure to fall past the Phoenix Suns at No. 5.
If he goes to either the Wizards, Suns or the Charlotte Bobcats, he'll see significant minutes. That will offer him the opportunity to show off his skills and pile up the stats that it takes to outshine the rest of the draft class.
Little Elite Competition
It bears repeating that this is a class short on sure things.
The two players most likely to go No. 1—Alex Len and Nerlens Noel—are each coming off of surgeries and may not even crack the starting lineup for their new teams all season. Even stars like Ben McLemore and Trey Burke may need to improve their defense before garnering major minutes for their new squads.
Most other players in the class figure to be niche players to start off their career, leaving Victor Oladipo and Porter as the few defensive stoppers capable of filling up the stat sheet.
Porter's skill set combined with a generally weak draft class makes him a favorite to be a serious contender for the honor of league's top rookie.
Note: All statistics found on sports-reference.com unless otherwise noted.