The Denver Nuggets will be understandably cautious with incoming rookie Michael Porter Jr., who missed all but three games of his freshman college season with a back injury that dropped him to the middle of the first round.
“We know the risks associated with him due to his recent back injury at Missouri," Kroenke told The Undefeated, "but he’s an incredibly hard worker, is an outstanding young man and we think he will fit in well with our up-and-coming group in Denver.”
Porter, a 6-foot-10 forward with silky shooting touch, entered college as perhaps the top prospect in an incoming freshman class that featured Deandre Ayton and Marvin Bagley III, who were drafted first (Phoenix Suns) and second (Sacramento Kings), respectively.
But a back injury suffered just minutes into his first game with Missouri would require surgery and sideline him for all but two more contests. Porter finished his college career having played just 53 total minutes.
Despite all that, Porter was still being touted as a potential top pick before a cancelled workout just before the draft raised fresh concerns about his health.
Drafting 14th, the Nuggets gladly added a potential scoring force to a potent unit that finished among the top teams in offensive efficiency last season.
“I’m not going to lie to you – I was stressed out,” Porter said of the days leading up to the draft. “All that stress was overcome by joy the moment I got called, no matter what the number was.
“At the end of the day, the draft is a number and I wasn’t going to let an ego get in the way of my joy.”