Northwest Notes: Porter Jr., Craig, Culver, O’Neale

Amid the news that the team has picked up his option for the 2020/21 season, forward Michael Porter Jr. is eager to take the court for the first time with the Nuggets, Mike Singer of the Denver Post reports. Porter will make his preseason debut against Portland on Tuesday. He missed all of last season with a back injury after being drafted No. 14 overall and didn’t play any summer league games due to a knee injury.

“I feel like I’ve prepared my whole life to be an NBA player,” the Nuggets’ forward said. “It’s crazy because I watch these players growing up and now we’re on the same court. I kind of had to have a mindset change. These are my opponents. I can’t be a fan of these dudes anymore.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Torrey Craig will open the season as the Nuggets’ starting small forward, Nick Kosmider of The Athletic predicts. He’s the best defensive option at that spot and has made improvements to his offensive game. “Torrey shot lights out in September and he’s shot it very well in camp,” coach Michael Malone told Kosmider. “If he shoots it the way he did in the playoffs, he’s going to be a guy who is hard to keep off the floor.” Craig made 47.2% of his three-point attempts in 14 playoff games, compared to his 32.4% showing in the regular season.
  • Lottery pick Jarrett Culver has wasted no time making a strong impression at Timberwolves camp, the team’s play-by-play announcer Alan Horton tweets. Coach Ryan Saunders said Culver has been the early standout in the preseason. “He’s definitely made some plays that make you look around and say wow,” Saunders said. “Now those might be normal plays for someone who’s been in the league, but for a rookie in his first couple of days, it was impressive.”
  • With the departures of Derrick Favors and Jae Crowder, forward Royce O’Neale could play an even bigger role with the Jazz this season, Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune reports. O’Neale appeared in every regular-season game last season, averaging 20.4 MPG.  Coach Quin Snyder is experimenting with the 6’6” O’Neale playing power forward in small ball lineups. “[I’m] just trying to be a leader, [trying to] step up, helping out on defense, helping new guys any way I can,” O’Neale said.
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8 thoughts on “Northwest Notes: Porter Jr., Craig, Culver, O’Neale

  1. Would like to see the Timberwolves make some good decisions to for their future. At this stage Culver Covington and KAT form a good trio and with Teague and Deing about to go off contract they should add a good PG. would be great if they drafted one from a strong class of PGs

      • All Minnesota Sports

        A player doesn’t have to be a superstar to be a core player. A team actually needs players that AREN’T superstars as part of their core to supplement the superstars (in our case singular with KAT) otherwise you room out money. Because of his energy and defense and his team friendly contact RoCo is a great asset of our core.

        • All Minnesota Sports

          Of course, my assertion is negated by the Warriors of the last few years, but I think they’re the exception to my rule.

      • harden-westbrook-mvps

        RoCo’s a very good 3 and D player, hopefully he ends up with a contender.

  2. x%sure

    I think all 3 of those are playoff bound.

    I predict good showings by Minnesota’s rookies, a full useful roster, and Wiggins forced to scramble for PT… He will still get points but better points– to get on the court, at times when RoCo can cover the 4, he will work inside and draw fouls and be a finisher.
    The sooner Culver is captain the better.

    • All Minnesota Sports

      Man, I’d love to be optimistic and agree with you about the Wolves, but my expectation is that we compete but ultimately miss the playoffs. I think the West will have 2 new playoff spots (Spurs and Thunder miss), but the Lakers get one and the Kings, Pelicans, Mavs, and Wolves are pretty evenly matched in terms of ability to get that last spot. Definitely hope I’m wrong and either way I’m pretty damn stoked for where the team is right now.

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