Denver Nuggets rookie Michael Porter Jr. is a fantastic player, but have we seen him before? He certainly has the looks of a current NBA star.
Michael Porter Jr. flashed his incredible talents as a scorer as he was selected as a McDonalds All-American, which is an honor given to the top high schoolers all around the country. Porter committed to the University of Missouri with his brother Jontay, but was unable to play due to injury. Porter averaged 10.0 points, 6.7 rebounds and 0.3 assists per game in three games at Missouri.
Despite his injury, Michael Porter Jr. was selected 14th overall in the 2018 NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets. Before the college season began, Porter was regarded as a top-five NBA prospect. The Nuggets believe if healthy, Porter can show his critics what got him that projection in the first place.
In high school, Michael Porter Jr. averaged 37.0 points, 14.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. His game resembles star Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George. George and Porter share similar measurables, both standing at 6’10” with 7’0″ wingspans. On the court, Paul George has an elite face-up game, which allows him to score and get to the line with ease.
Similarly, Porter has all of the physical tools to become an elite scorer in the NBA. In the half-court, Michael Porter Jr. is a major-league shot-maker. Shooting is one of Porter’s best skills that he brings to the NBA. In transition, MPJ. can stop and pop at a high efficiency, as well as drive to the basket. With Porter’s impressive length, he will be hard to block when driving downhill toward the opposition.
Porter also has a back-to-basket offensive repertoire in his overall game. Porter uses his size and length to back down defenders in order to either rise up for the jumper or speed past the defense for the easy bucket. Like George, Porter uses his superior size to his advantage when going against smaller defenders, allowing him to take smart shots either on the block or on the perimeter.
Defensively, Porter has the potential to become an elite defender due to his size and reach. Paul George is an effective on-ball defender who is often tasked with defending the opposing team’s star player.
In switch situations, Porter can use his reach to make shots difficult for his opponents. When engaged, he can stay in front of his opponent and challenge shots at the rim. Michael Porter Jr. is very agile and could cover a lot of ground on the defensive end.
One of the main knocks on Porter is that it remains to be seen if he can stay healthy. His back injury and unknown status are what caused him to slide on many draft boards.
The Nuggets do not need Porter to be ready early on, as they re-signed shooting guard Will Barton to a four-year, $54 million deal. He will return to the starting lineup at the small forward position. If and when Michael Porter Jr. is healthy, the Denver Nuggets will have added an offensive threat who has the ability to become one of the NBA’s next superstars.