Prospect Preview: Michael Porter Jr.

by Christopher Dempsey
Nuggets Insider
@chrisadempsey

MICHAEL PORTER
Ht: 6-foot-10
Wt: 211 pounds
2017-18 Stats: 10.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.0 apg

HOW HE OPERATES

High on the list of biggest mysteries in the NBA draft is Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr. A back injury suffered just two minutes into his first college contest limited Porter, the MVP of the McDonald’s High School All-American game, to just three games for the Tigers. Sample sizes don’t get much smaller than that, but let’s dive in to what he showed.

First off, this space is giving Porter the benefit of the doubt. He was rusty upon his return – four months after being injured – not having much of a feel for the speed of the college game. He missed a bunch of jump shots and had a handful of layups blocked. He couldn’t quite free himself up for shot attempts in the way he wanted to. He did, however, knock down a couple of long-range 3-pointers out of screen-roll action.

Porter has a fluid-looking jump shot. He runs the court well – and that should improve exponentially as he is able to get himself into true basketball condition. He can handle the ball in the open court and projects as being able to consistently get a defensive rebound, go coast-to-coast and finish. The most impressive aspect of his game right now is his rebounding. Porter easily projects to be a 6-7 boards per game player. Maybe more. He is not afraid of big moments. He wants to have the ball in his hands to take pressurized shots late in games. He’ll need to continue to improve his handle overall. He was left-hand dominant in his time on the court.

Defensively, Porter struggled getting through screens, as could be expected by a player coming off of a major back injury. He displayed decent lateral quickness, but not great. He has the length for recovery blocks and chase down blocks. Right now Porter’s full defensive potential is only in its infant stages. There are building blocks of some good things, but he’ll have to work hard to fulfill them.

HIS BEST FIT

Michael Porter Jr. told media at the NBA Combine he felt he was the best player in the draft. Had he played an entire season, the bet here is he likely would have been proven right. Porter has all the tools to grow into a star player in the NBA, but he’ll need to be with a team that is cautious with his health right out of the gate and had has a solid player development staff. A team that can wait a season or two to get him up to speed could very well have a core player on a playoff team on their hands.

Christopher Dempsey: christopher.dempsey@altitude.tv and @chrisadempsey on Twitter

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