After news broke Monday of a max extension for Michael Porter Jr., he thought of the difficult journey it took to reach this point, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. There were serious questions about Porter’s long-term health heading into the 2018 draft after he injured his back in college. After being in consideration for the top pick when the season began, Porter slipped all the way to No. 14, where the Nuggets nabbed him as a long-term investment.
“I think it’s a lot more gratifying,” Porter said. “I’m one of those dudes, that even growing up, I didn’t think of it like, ‘Dang, I’m going to be making millions of dollars when I go to the NBA.’ I thought of it as, ‘Dang, I’m going to get to play against LeBron (James), (Kevin Durant).’ It was never about the money for me. … The road that I took made it so much more gratifying.”
After sitting out his first NBA season, Porter showed signs of stardom in 2019/20 and followed that with a breakthrough year, averaging 19.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game last season. He said that after learning of his extension, he called Jamal Murray and texted Nikola Jokic. They are the core that Nuggets management hopes will bring the franchise its first NBA title.
“We’re good to go,” Porter said. “Us three right there, when you’ve got (Aaron Gordon), you’ve got Will (Barton), Monte (Morris), we’re locked in. We know we’re going to be good. We know we’re going to be nice for years to come. … They didn’t pay us all this money to not win a championship.”
There’s more from Denver:
- Porter, one of a handful of high-profile NBA players who haven’t been vaccinated, talked about his decision with Singer in a separate story. “For me, I had COVID twice, I saw how my body reacted, and although the chances are slim, with the vaccine, there’s a chance you could have a bad reaction to it,” Porter said. “For me, I don’t feel comfortable.”
- Jeff Green, who signed with Denver in the offseason, is already making an impact at training camp, according to Eric Spyropoulos of NBA.com. The veteran big man brings a new element to the Nuggets’ offense and can guard a variety of players on the other end of the court. “His feel for the game, his versatility, even at his age his athleticism, it really felt like a seamless fit in that regard,” coach Michael Malone said. “So, I’ve been really impressed with Jeff.”
- First-round pick Bones Hyland has found there’s quite a bit to learn in his first training camp, Spyropoulos adds in the same story. “It’s a lot (to adjust to), you know, and that’s not lost on me,” Malone said. “It’s not lost on any of the coaches, because here’s a guy that just finished up his sophomore season at VCU, and he’s out here with 17 other NBA players, (learning) terminology, drills, (and a) new system.”