Jontay Porter: Defense
Our scouting grades represent the composite opinion of at least three different scouts. Each category is graded based on how we view a player’s current ability level relative to NBA players at the same position (guard, wing, forward or big). A grade of 1 indicates replacement level, a grade of 5 indicates NBA average, and a grade of 10 indicates historically elite. Our composite scouting notes help provide context for our grades.
Porter is a good interior defender who uses his length well to contest without fouling. He has active hands and can block a surprising amount of shots using his wingspan. He is also good at denying the ball one pass away and uses his active hands to limit passing lanes for his man. Along the perimeter, Porter can hold his own, though this skill will likely be diminished at an NBA level because of his limited lateral quickness. He does a good job closing out shooters with his hands high and moves his hips and feet well trying to stay in front of drivers.
Porter is a solid team defender who relies heavily on his good positioning and help instincts. He is good at contesting shots as a helper, forcing opponents to try and shoot over him. He has great reaction time and generally can beat drivers to the spot because of his IQ. As a result, he is a deceptively good rim protector, nailing weak-side rotations and affecting interior shots. He gets stuck on screens from time to time and stronger players can get the position they want on the low block. He is also suspect to getting completely blown by on closeouts against quicker guards.
Porter is a phenomenal help defender, but he may not be elite at the NBA level because the game is more spaced out, forcing him to cover more ground than usual. He is also a consistent communicator on D, calling out screens and weak side actions constantly. He is a capable hedge man on pick and rolls, making it difficult for guards to rise up in the mid range. He is also a good switch defender in short bursts, stopping penetration by recovering to his man without leaving a seam. Porter showed some promise as a drop coverage defender, but his lack of explosive athleticism might leave him at a disadvantage while trying to meet moving NBA players at the rim from a standstill.
Porter likely will not be very switchable at the next level because he does not have the lateral or hip speed that you need to be a versatile on-ball defender. He got blown by on several big-to-guard off-ball switches, but he managed to challenge three-pointers after down-screens. He is extremely intelligent diagnosing his strengths and weaknesses in switch opportunities, but even with great instincts and positioning he will have difficulty staying in front of ball handlers. If he can improve in this area by bottling up defenders with his length, he will be able to play his way out of being targeted by opposing pick and rolls, a solid goal for his early career.
High impact plays
Porter doesn’t create a ton of steals, but he’s constantly in the right place to make good things happen for his team. He is an underrated shot blocker who uses his wingspan and strong lower body to get a lot of blocks on the ball. He is also good at keeping the ball inbounds after blocks, leading to transition opportunities. Many of his impact plays will come from defense-to-offense opportunities where he makes an outlet pass that few people even see, much less attempt.