It was a tough landing for Jontay Porter.
The talented 6’11 forward was thought by most NBA mock drafts to be a mid-2nd round pick. A lottery pick if healthy, Porter was still considered a 1st round pick until the second ACL tear, which happened by Porter’s own negligence in thinking he was ready to get back on the court. An unfortunate turn of events.
With the Porter family’s struggles to stay healthy — both older sisters careers were derailed by knee injuries and brother Michael’s own issues with his back — Jontay’s medical records were as closely combed over as any medical records in this draft.
So now he waits. And he’s likely to wait for a while, as Alex Schiffer noted:
A team could monitor Porter’s rehab for a year and not sign him until sometime in 2020, when he’s able to play. Even if a team does sign Porter, he might play strictly in the G-League next season as opposed to the NBA, while he kicks off almost two years of rust.
Most second-round picks try to get a guaranteed contract or a two-way deal, in which the prospect splits time between the NBA and the G-League. Teams only get a pair of two-way contracts and using one on Porter wouldn’t make sense if he can’t play.
This is correct and probably widens the view of the lens enough to understand why Porter hasn’t been signed. Being inside, it’s tougher to understand because like his brother last year, you don’t want to turn away an elite talent if he’s healthy. When Porter opted to return to school, he immediately began trending towards the upper half of the first round. With the hit-or-miss nature of the draft I wish more teams were a little more daring, and took the risk of a higher impact player in lieu of a safer pick.
Jontay Porter is a risk right now.
The lesson in this, if there is one, is take the money when it’s there. Professional basketball players have a limited shelf life. Very few of them turn out to be Vince Carter and play into their 40s. Most professional players are able to play until their age 30 season, the elite players are lucky enough to play into their 30s much not much farther. Most players hit their prime after their college-aged years, but the years of 20-25 are still five years of earning potential.
When you consider an earning window of around 15 years or less, it’s best to maximize those years and start earning. Jontay made a gamble last year when he chose to go back to school. He gambled late first round or early second round draft money (a likely 2 year contract at minimum) for a chance to get inside the lottery and double or triple his earning over the first three or four years. He lost that gamble.
He wasn’t the only one however, Daniel Gafford was a projected top 20 pick last year. He fell to the 38th pick to the Chicago Bulls. And plenty of elite players from a year ago tumbled as well.
Clarifying with Mizzou compliance, but it APPEARS the rule allowing undrafted players to return to school was a Rice Commission suggestion but not one that has been implemented. More in the NBA hands. Will have full understanding shortly.— Alex Schiffer (@TheSchiffMan) June 21, 2019
For a minute people got excited about the possibility of Jontay Porter coming back to school because of a suggested rule change by the Rice Commission. But the rule was never enacted so once the withdrawal deadline passed Porter, and the rest of the declared underclassmen, were choosing professional paydays over school.
And in more Porter news:
Name worth keeping an eye on for Lindenwood University head coaching job: #Mizzou assistant Michael Porter, Sr. Lions need a coach after Lance Randall resigned a couple weeks ago. I’m told there is interest in Porter, who has been an assistant with Cuonzo Martin for two years.— Gabe DeArmond (@GabeDeArmond) June 21, 2019
I’d heard a few rumblings a year ago that Porter Sr. had expressed interest in a few lower level head coaching jobs so this isn’t that far off the map. Lindenwood is actually a pretty solid job with nice facilities and a pretty campus in St. Charles. I don’t know how real the possibility would be but it would certainly throw a late wrench in the plans for Cuonzo Martin. On top of a very important recruiting class he’s have to move quickly to fill in an assistant coaching position
Either way it’s worth keeping an eye on to see if anything develops.