Michael Porter Jr. was supposed to be a top-five pick at the least. He ended up 14th.
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the 2018 NBA Draft, the University of Missouri product—no thanks to his injury history and medical records—almost fell out of the lottery until the Denver Nuggets took a gamble and scooped him as the last lottery pick.
But while Porter would have hoped to be selected higher, his fall to the Nuggets might actually be good for him and the organization.
“It’s a blessing in disguise. Whatever city I landed, I was gonna make the most of it and I’m happy to be a Denver Nugget,” Porter said in a video conference sponsored by Cisco.
Health has been the key factor why Porter’s stock dropped significantly in the build-up to the draft. After playing just 53 minutes of college basketball last season due to a back injury, the 19-year-old raised concerns about his durability moving forward.
It didn’t help that he had to cancel pro day workouts with multiple teams a week before the rookie selection, citing back spasms as the reason.
Now that he’s with the Nuggets, he can take the time to get his body right. After all, Denver has the luxury to be patient given that their core almost made it to the playoffs in the 2017-18 campaign.
That means less pressure for Porter as well, and it’s something he couldn’t afford had he been selected by either of the top-five teams who were hoping to get immediate return from their rookies.
If there’s one thing Nuggets fans should know though, Porter expressed his confidence about his health.
“I’m doing good. I’m feeling good. I don’t think health will be a concern, and I’m not disappointed [being selected 14th by the Nuggets] at all. This is all a blessing,” The Missouri native added.
As a 19-year-old rookie (turning 20 in a week’s time), Porter fits perfectly in Denver.
Along with 21-year-old Jamal Murray, 23-year-old Gary Harris and 23-year-old Nikola Jokic, Porter could easily fit into the young core that could soon develop as a consistent playoff contender. One could even say that he’s the final piece of the puzzle (if healthy) for Denver’s postseason hopes.
While his playmaking ability leaves much to be desired, Porter doesn’t have to worry that much considering that he has Jokic by his side, who is unarguably the best passing big man of his generation.
A point to prove
For the Nuggets, not only did they draft a player with a top-pick potential when healthy, but also someone who is hungry to prove his doubters wrong.
Twelve teams passed on Porter, with the LA Clippers never even considering him at nos.12 and 13. And sure enough, those teams will keep at least one eye open when the Mile High rook takes the NBA hardwood.
Everything’s up to Porter now to show that he is a boom rather than a bust. Fortunately, he has already the right attitude.
“I expect to be the best player out of this class. I’m confident in myself, so no doubt,” Porter explained further in the video conference.