Michael Porter Jr. is confident that he’s ready to be the third star the Nuggets are looking for, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Porter got uneven playing time at the beginning of last season, but injuries gave him a chance to be a starter and he became a star at Disney World, earning a spot on the All-Seeding Games second team.
Denver is counting on a strong second season from Porter after losing Jerami Grant and Torrey Craig in free agency. That leaves a huge hole at the wing spots, and Porter is ready to build on what he has learned.
“I kind of saw everything last year,” he said. “We played LeBron (James) in the playoffs, I played against Kawhi (Leonard), Paul George, all the best players at my position. So I feel like I have some experience now going into this season that I didn’t have last year in my first year playing. I went from DNPs to starting on a Western Conference finals team in the playoffs. I learned a lot in one year and looking to carry that over to this year. I want to make a really big jump. I’ve been working really hard in all the areas that I saw that I need to get better in the playoffs. I’m excited and I feel like I’m ready.”
There’s more from the Northwest Division:
- Nuggets players are excited about the addition of free agent forward JaMychal Green, according to Alex Labidou of NBA.com. Denver was looking to add toughness, which Green has displayed by establishing a presence in the league after going undrafted in 2012. “I’m just glad he’s on our team. He’s one of those power forwards you hate to go up against,” Paul Millsap said. “He’s a guy I’ve battled against for many years. He’s always had an attitude to be relentless and to win.”
- Trail Blazers swingman Rodney Hood is ready for a fresh start after a year filled with personal tragedy and recovery from an Achilles tear he suffered last December, notes Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian. Hood is close to being cleared for five-on-five play and is expected to back up new additions Robert Covington and Derrick Jones Jr.
- Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns is heading into a new season with the pain of losing his mother and six other loved ones to COVID-19 still fresh on his mind, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Towns talked about the difficulty of focusing on basketball in the midst of so much tragedy. “I play this game more because I just love watching my family members seeing me play a game I was very good and successful at,” he said. “It always brought a smile for me when I saw my mom at the baseline and in the stands and stuff and having a good time watching me play. It’s going to be hard to play. It’s going to be difficult to say that this is therapy. I don’t think this will ever be therapy again for me. But it gives me a chance to relive good memories I had. I guess that’s the only therapy I’m going to get from it. It’s not going to really help me emotionally or anything.”