After falling in the draft with some medical concerns, the Denver Nuggets selected Michael Porter Jr. of University of Missouri with the No. 14 pick.
NBA teams that shied away from Porter Jr. due to questions surrounding his back problems were making a business decision, but they were arguably letting one of the top three talents in this year’s draft class to fall into Denver’s lap. Since draft night, the Nuggets’ first round pick has continued to send waves of excitement across Denver, as the Nuggets faithful fantasizes about a healthy MPJ getting buckets for years to come.
Speaking with Eric Goodman and Aniello Piro of Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7, Denver Nuggets analyst Chris Dempsey broke down what Porter Jr. does for the Nuggets offensively and the problems that this lineup can create for opposing defenses in the future.
“It just gives the Nuggets the ability to have more answers for defenses,” Dempsey said. “When they’re trying to load up on a [Nikola] Jokic or a [Jamal] Murray-You can’t load up on everybody and they can really scheme some things really well with a guy like Michael Porter Jr.”
When healthy, Porter Jr. has the potential to play a major role for the Nuggets. Denver has been looking for a superstar that can take them to the next level ever since the departure of Carmelo Anthony. Much like how Melo helped make an immediate impact in 2003, Dempsey explained how Porter Jr. is the type of offensive basketball player that should be able to see success from the get-go.
“(He’s ) a 6’10” (player) who can shoot the 3, (and) who can get to the rim. Who can really run the court and finishes well at the rim,” Dempsey said. “A very talented offensive player. There’s not a ton of players with that height that really handle themselves offensively the way Michael Porter Jr. does.”
While Porter Jr’s. game is solid, his health is going to be the biggest factor for determining when the rookie sees the court in a Nuggets uniform, and that might not even be this upcoming season, as the Nuggets may take the same approach that the Philadelphia 76ers took with Ben Simmons.
“Don’t even put him on the court until he is 100 percent,” Dempsey said. “That may not be the entire season. We’ll see. With what he is dealing with, I would just play it as slow as possible. They have time to be able to play cautiously. This is a multi-layer process.”
Porter Jr. was once the top-ranked recruit coming out of high school. He won Most Valuable Player of the McDonalds All-American game, was the Naismith National Player of the Year, and was the Gatorade Boys National Player of the year.
Click here to listen to the full interview with Chris Dempsey, including what he had to say about the other Nuggets draft picks Jarred Vanderbilt and Thomas Welsh.
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