Heading into the 2018-19 basketball season we were all a little giddy about getting to watch Jontay Porter cement his case as a top 20 pick, and probably lottery pick. Seeing Porter follow his brother into the lottery would have been exciting for both the Porter family and the Mizzou basketball program.
Instead, a tragic knee injury sidelined the Tiger forward for the season, and by his own admission an overconfidence in his recover led to a re-injury causing even further damage to his NBA draft stock. If the first knee injury knocked him out of the lottery, the second probably pushing him into the second round.
Here’s a quick rundown of some mock drafts from around the web:
After two ACL tears in the span of less than a year, Porter’s health is a major question mark. But with more draft picks than any other NBA team ahead of Thursday, the Hawks can shoulder the risk and hope he can return to his old form with time to give them a floor-spacing big with playmaking potential.
The ACL injury that ended his season is heartbreaking. Between him and his brother, Michael, it’s been a lot of what-could-have-been for the family so far. Ultimately, Porter’s on the mend and has a high hoops IQ and strong innate feel for the game. It would be a mistake if he went undrafted.
The injury history with Porter will undoubtedly scare some teams off, but he would likely have been a first-rounder if he’d been able to put together a healthy season. He’ll be a nice value play anywhere in the second round, and a team with young talent and tons of picks like the Hawks can afford to wait him out.
The Spurs were big fans of Porter last year, and still value big men at a level commensurate with taking two of them in the same draft. He’s suffered two straight ACL tears, but when he’s on the floor Porter displays a high level of IQ and terrific potential shot-making ability above the break. Much in the same way as Reid, his smooth shooting stroke has real potential to warp defenses, as does his passing ability. But to get a chance to do that, he has to get a clearance from NBA doctors and get back on the floor.
Skilled big who spaces the floor and does all the little things offensively, but has torn his right ACL twice in six months.
I honestly feel even more detached from Jontay’s draft status this year than I did with his brother last year. With Michael Porter, Jr. there was at least the hope for a lottery pick, but Jontay’s injury has caused him to slide well into the second round where teams are willing to incur more risk.
And it’s certainly not because I don’t wish the best for Jontay, I really do. I hope he’s able to find the right franchise who understands his high skill level, but they might need to give him time to recover from his double knee injury. Ultimately if you take Porter you know there’s risk, but there’s also a potential lottery level pick late if you’re willing to wait.
I think Porter will find himself with a two year contract and a pick in the early to mid-40’s. It seems the right place to slide a high upside, high risk pick like Jontay. But truthfully the difference these days between pick number 25 and pick number 50 is pretty minuscule. I just look forward to the day Tay can be healthy and playing basketball again.