Thirteen teams decided to pass on Michael Porter Jr on draft night due to his lingering back injury. The one team that took a shot on Porter Jr was the Denver Nuggets. Since that night, his career and role with the Nuggets have been confusing to people.
Michael Porter Jr first season in Denver sat him out due to his back injury. In his second season, he played 55 games and started in 8 out of those 55 games. That season he 9.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Those numbers aren’t bad for a player who was playing his first season in the NBA. As we know now, that season was cut short due to the covid-19 outbreak. But the NBA started the season back up in July of 2021. In the bubble is where Michael Porter Jr flashed his potential. His NBA bubble stats consisted of 14.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. He even helped the Nuggets advance to the western conference finals, where Denver’s season ended.
Michael Porter Jr is now in his 3rd season, and he is putting up career numbers. His season stats are 19.0 points and 7.3 rebounds. Porter Jr is showcasing his ability to score from all over the court. But it has been times on the court where he doesn’t touch the ball much. That was due to Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murrays being good 1st and 2nd options on offense. All that changed when Jamal Murray tore his ACL. Since Murray’s injury, Porter has been averaging 22.0 points and 7.0 rebounds. He has steeped into the role of being the 2nd option.
The Denver Nuggets are set to face off against the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA playoffs. A plus for the Nuggets and Porter Jr in this matchup is that Portland doesn’t have size. Norman Powell and Robert Covington most likely be tasked with guarding Porter Jr. Powell is a good defender, but he is undersized as he’s listed at 6-foot-4. Covington is also a good defender, and he has good size at 6-foot-7. The only problem with having Covington guard Porter Jr is that Nugget’s power forward will be guarded by Norman Powell.
It will be interesting to see how Portland will guard Porter Jr. Portland, throwing Robert Covington, and Norman Powell won’t affect him much. I think Michael Porter Jr will get to his spots and find his rhythm on offense. He will show people he has the ability to be one of the best scorers in the NBA shortly.