Northwest Notes: Porter Jr., Mitchell, Lillard, Wolves Offense

Nikola Jokic has a sore knee, but Nuggets coach Michael Malone is equally concerned about Michael Porter Jr.‘s slow start, according to Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Signed to a five-year max extension in late September, Porter is averaging just 11.5 PPG while shooting 34.6% from the field.

“We’ve got to get Michael Porter going,” Malone said. “He’s four games in, and I know that he’s capable of playing at a much higher level — from a shooting standpoint, his efficiency, his rebounding, his defense — so we’ve got to get more from Michael Porter.”

Jokic is questionable to play on Friday.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Jazz, particularly new owner Ryan Smith, are going out of their way to keep Donovan Mitchell happy, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report writes. Mitchell has voiced to Jazz officials his desire to see more Black men in the organization and it has added a number of them in recent hires. Mitchell is in the first year of a five-year, $163MM contract.
  • There was a lot of speculation regarding Damian Lillard‘s future with the Trail Blazers during the offseason but he appears content now, Mark Medina of writes. Lillard has become a strong believer in first-year coach Chauncey Billups, who led the Pistons to the 2004 championship. “I think it’ll just continue to get better,” Lillard said. “I think it’s a great opportunity for me to see something different and to learn. (Billups) knows the way to help myself and him, as a coach, to become a champion.”
  • The Timberwolves are off to a 3-1 start despite shooting 42.6% from the field and averaging 16.3 turnovers per game. They’re still trying to strike the perfect balance, led by their Big Three of Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards, according to Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. “That is the balance when you give everybody as much freedom as we do,” coach Chris Finch said. “Kat, Ant, D-Lo, they have the license to break the offense, if you will, or be aggressive within it is probably a better way to put it. They can’t just always live off doing it with the first pass or first action and I think that’s where we’re living right now.”
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