Photo Credit: Slam
With the 14th pick of the 2018 NBA Draft, the Denver Nuggets selected Michael Porter Jr. out of Missouri.
Porter Jr. was projected to be a top 3 NBA prospect going into the 2017-2018 college basketball season. Unfortunately, he suffered a lower back injury that ended up requiring surgery, but returned that season during the SEC Tournament and participated in one NCAA Division I Tournament game. While still recovering from the injury, he came off the bench and underperformed during his final few games in college. Questions started to arise about his health and he ended up falling all the way to pick number 14. Porter Jr., who was supposed to be the next great player, fell to a team some considered questionable in regard to the long-term direction. The Nuggets had not made the playoffs since 2013.
Man, have things changed.
The Nuggets sit at 2 in the Western Conference where they have been neck and neck with THE Golden State Warriors all year. They have not only exceeded expectations, but they have set the bar to a whole new level. Nikola Jokic is having an MVP season averaging 20.4 PTS, 10.7 REB, and 7.6 AST per game. People forget Jokic is only 24 years old too, leading his entire team in every major statistical category except blocks. He is a cornerstone to their future. Jamal Murray is also having a breakout year. With a tremendous supporting cast in Gary Harris, Paul Millsap, Will Barton, and many more young pieces, this team is geared up for the future. Mike Malone deserves credit for the outstanding job he has done with this organization.
Although they have been great this season, the one knock on the Nuggets is their lack of star power. If they had one more big name star like Kawhi Leonard or Kevin Durant, maybe even a Jimmy Butler, I think people would be taking them more seriously. I love the Nuggets and what they have done, however, I don’t think they are going on a finals run this year. They are amazing at home, but are only .500 on the road.
Insert Porter Jr. and I think we may have one scary beast.
Porter Jr. was ruled out for the year with more back issues as the Nuggets make sure that he is 100% healthy for the upcoming 2019-2020 season.
He sure looks like he’s on the right track.
Teammate Isaiah Thomas even called him the “Best player in the draft.”
Porter Jr. averaged 36.2 PTS, 13.6 REB, 5.0 AST, 3.2 STL, and 2.7 BLK per game as a senior in high school. If he is even 80% of that next year at the professional level, the NBA is in for a ride. I believe this kid has the potential to become great.