In the most anticipated night of his life, Michael Porter Jr. had to wait for 13 other names to be called before ascending the stage to shake hands with NBA commish Adam Silver. Finally, with pick No. 14, the Nuggets scooped him up.
Source: Denver has cleared the way to choose Michael Porter Jr. with the 14h pick.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 22, 2018
Sources: The Denver Nuggets have selected Michael Porter Jr. with the No. 14 pick in the NBA draft. Strongly considered Zhaire Smith here.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 22, 2018
Porter very clearly went lower than he expected to or wanted to thanks to lingering questions about his health, but at the 14th pick the Nuggets got a steal if Porter is healthy.
Porter Jr. is a dream fit for today’s NBA. He’s a rangy, skilled combo forward with the ability to score at all three levels. He’s also quietly able to grab boards down low. His athleticism isn’t elite, but he’s explosive around the rim and has a good - if not great - first step. He has enough basketball IQ and physicality to take bigger, slower defenders outside and smaller defenders down low without much trouble. His handle isn’t top-notch yet, but he’s able to run the floor well and bring the ball up the court on the break. He’s a confident player - just read his pre-draft interviews - and won’t back down from higher levels of competition.
There’s no doubt Porter’s ceiling is high, and that’s why it’s a little puzzling why he fell as far as he did. But I don’t have the medicals sitting in front of me. And I’m also not a doctor.
Porter watched his MoKan AAU teammate and best friend Trae Young go to the Hawks at the No. 5 pick, and when they played together there was no question who the better prospect is, but that’s what sitting out a season after back surgery while your friend goes off to lead the NCAAs in scoring and assists. He watched as the player he attempted to recruit to Mizzou, Kevin Knox, went to No. 9 to the New York Knicks. Porter knows, when healthy, he’s better than both.
He just has to be healthy.