Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. remained extremely active with the team during his rookie season despite missing the entire campaign due to injury, staying vocal on the bench and doing his part in helping the team succeed.
Porter, 20, underwent a second back surgery last summer that ultimately cost him his rookie season. He was selected by Denver with the 14th overall pick in the draft last June.
“To be honest, going into the season, I didn’t really expect myself to be able to play at 100 percent if I was to come play,” Porter said last week, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post. “But like, the way I feel now, it’s leaps and bounds beyond where I thought I’d be at this point. I feel so good. … I feel like I’m a better player than I’ve ever been.”
Despite not seeing any NBA action yet, Porter has impressed his teammates with his confidence, swagger and character during his rookie season. The next four or five months will be important for him, as Singer notes he’s expected to make his professional debut at the Las Vegas Summer League in July.
“What I’ve seen from Michael this year in flashes, is a guy with tremendous size and length, that’s got deep range, that can shoot the ball, that can put the ball on the floor and has great athleticism to finish at the rim,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “This will be a really big summer for Michael.”
There’s more out of the Western Conference tonight:
- Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News examines whether it’s time for the Mavericks to bring Julius Randle back home in free agency this summer. Randle, who’s expected to decline his $9MM player option to become an unrestricted free agent on June 30, was born in Texas and could fit with the young duo of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. Dallas could also pursue a point guard on the open market, such as Charlotte’s Kemba Walker.
- The Lakers have hired Judy Seto as director of sports performance, the team announced on Friday. Seto, who served as the team’s head physical therapist from 2011-16, will oversee the medical care and optimize the health and performance of Lakers players while reporting directly to general manager Rob Pelinka.
- The Kings have expressed interest in Thunder assistant coach Bob Beyer, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. Beyer has been an NBA assistant since 2007, making stops with Orlando, Golden State, Charlotte and Detroit before joining Oklahoma City last year. He also served as an assistant with the Raptors during the 2003/04 season.