MikeCheck: Grizzlies to seek medical info, attend Michael Porter Jr.'s workout as they evaluate options for No. 4 pick
MEMPHIS – The Grizzlies will be among lottery teams represented in Chicago later this week for forward Michael Porter Jr.’s highly anticipated workout in advance of the June 21 Draft, general manager Chris Wallace confirmed Monday.
Porter, a 6-10 prolific scorer who was rated as the top prep prospect in the nation entering last season, was limited to only three games as a freshman at Missouri because of back surgery. The injury history and extent of Porter’s recovery have made him arguably the most polarizing player in a deep draft class.
The Grizzlies own the No. 4 pick in the first round and also the No. 32 selection in the second round. Wallace was part of the Memphis front-office contingent that met with Porter in Chicago during last month’s NBA Draft Combine, and the team remains intrigued by the prospect’s scoring and versatility.
But the Grizzlies are in line with several other teams in the lottery eager to receive Porter’s latest medical information, and also to see him in action on the court Friday for the first time since he declared for the draft. Porter was injured in Missouri’s season opener in November and had micro discectomy surgery to repair two spinal discs.
He’ll be evaluated, and I’ll be up there in Chicago – several of us will – to see his pro day. And we’ll go from there.-- Chris Wallace
“It was a very minimally invasive surgery,” Porter said during his media session at the Combine. “They just had to fix the discs, take about 10 percent off that nerve. And (doctors) said, after I got another MRI, that it has healed fully. I just have to keep up with my extensions, my core exercises and stretching.”
Porter returned for Missouri’s final two games of the season – a loss in the SEC Tournament and a setback to Florida State in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament in March. He ended the season averaging 10 points, 6.7 rebounds and a steal over three games. But it was his work prior to enrolling that generated national buzz about his potential as a future No. 1 overall draft pick.
Porter joined Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Chris Webber and Alonzo Mourning as the only players to earn MVP of the McDonald’s All-American Game as well as garner both the Naismith and Gatorade National Player of the Year honors as high school seniors. Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin described Porter as a “combination of Kevin Durant and Kevin Garnett” when they were at the prep level.
Wallace said Monday that Priority Sports, the agency that represents Porter, has informed some NBA teams that Porter will undergo a physical exam in the coming days. The Grizzlies expect to be among the teams that receive the latest medical report, and will then watch Friday's workout in Chicago.
“Michael Porter Jr. obviously missed almost his entire freshman year at Missouri, and you have to take that into consideration,” Wallace said after the Grizzlies held a pre-draft workout at FedExForum to evaluate potential second-rounders and undrafted free agents. “But from what we understand, (Porter) is back and fully engaged in basketball activities now, and he’ll be showing his wares on Friday.”
Largely due to questions surrounding his recovery, Porter has been projected to land all over the draft board, even as high as third or fourth to the Hawks or Grizzlies in some mock drafts. During last week’s ESPN Mock Draft show, the network’s top analysts and draft insiders had Porter falling out of the lottery.
Asked Monday if he agreed with the perceived selective handling of Porter’s draft process, Wallace said the Grizzlies will continue to perform their due diligence on prospects regardless of any challenges.
“That’s up to them – I’m not going to comment on that,” Wallace said. “They’re going to do what they’re going to do, and we’re going to do what we’re going to do. He’ll be evaluated, and I’ll be up there in Chicago – several of us will – to see his pro day. And we’ll go from there.”
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