This is a kid who has overcame much adversity throughout the past couple years. Now that he has been healthy to some degree, Michael Porter Jr. has shown flashes of what a potential basketball player he can become over time. When Mike Malone has called his number to check in, Porter Jr. has not disappointed and is hoping the world can recognize his true talent.
Many were a bit concerned that Porter Jr was selected as the 14th pick of the 2018 Draft due to his history of injuries and only playing a few games during his freshmen season at the University of Missouri. But somehow, the Nuggets front office saw something different in the young kid. Looking at Denver’s history, they love to find guys that one would never think of to continue to help develop and potentially become a major contribution for the team. It’s no secret that Denver saw a bright future in Porter Jr. the night they drafted him.
It was unfortunate that Porter Jr was sidelined the entire 2018-19 season due to having back surgery. With the fantastic regular season the Nuggets played last season, it would have been interesting to see how he would have been able to mix with the team on the floor. They displayed much firepower out of their starting unit and their bench players that it gave most teams fits throughout the season. If Porter Jr were healthy, there would have been a big chance his size and agility would have only taken this Denver team to another level and could have possibly helped Denver get to the Western Conference Finals.
After missing an entire season, we were finally able to watch Porter Jr. take the floor as he made his NBA Debut against the New Orleans Pelicans. He may have been a tad nervous going into the game, but one couldn’t tell once he checked in. Porter Jr was in attack mode from the beginning. He displayed his ability to get to the rim and used his length to his advantage punishing smaller defenders on the perimeter and on outback layups. Porter Jr scored 15 points in his debut and displayed what was a magnificent start to his young NBA career.
Throughout the season, Porter Jr’s minutes have been inconsistent where he will only see the court for a minimum amount of time. Maybe it’s because Mike Malone doesn’t want to load the kid with heavy minutes due to his past injuries. But when Porter Jr has had the opportunity to be on the floor for a lengthy amount of minutes, he has been a key factor for this Denver team and has sometimes been the leading factor to a couple of wins this season.
Porter Jr had a fantastic month of January. His play began to receive much more recognition compared to the first couple months and he really began to elevate his play as his playing time increased. A couple of his notable game have been scoring 25 against Indiana, an 18 point performance against Golden State in a huge comeback, and even a 20 point performance against Minnesota.
It seems as if when Jamal Murray going down with an ankle injury has forced Coach Malone to give Porter Jr more opportunities. And he hasn’t disappointed whatsoever. When he has been healthy he has been one of the best players off the bench for Denver and he has competed on both ends of the court during his time on the floor.
Going into the playoffs, MPJ could be a key factor for whoever Denver matches up with. He’ll be able to provide much needed scoring just in case someone has a bad night and his length on the defensive end will be key guarding the wing position. He’s a beneficiary that many teams would want on their roster and Denver will be happy to have him. If Porter Jr plays consistently with the minutes given along with feeding energy off of guys in Jokic and others, Denver could possibly make a good run this season in the playoffs.
The sky is the limit for Michael Porter Jr. Like said, injuries have really kept him out for some time. But when the kid has been healthy, he has shown that he can be a versatile player and contribute in a huge way for the Denver Nuggets. Expect to hear this kids name a lot starting now and watch it carry over as his career in the NBA continues.