Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. has become a much different player in his second NBA season, writes Kyle Fredrickson of The Denver Post. A year ago, there were concerns about Porter’s effort, especially on defense, as well as his tendency to rely too much on the three-point shot. But now his game is flourishing and he has won the full trust of the coaching staff. The concerns about his back that made him available with the 14th pick in the 2018 draft appear to be gone as well.
“(Porter) is getting so much more comfortable,” Nuggets guard Will Barton said. “He knows that he’s going to play and he knows that we count on him. You’ve seen him grow on the other side of the ball. It’s a nice thing to see, especially for a guy with his talent. When he’s stepping up and playing defense, it’s only going to open up his game more and open up our team’s game. He’s just becoming a heck of a player. You can just see his IQ growing with each game and each possession. It’s a pleasure to see, man. I’m very excited for him and his future.”
There’s more from the Northwest Division:
- Moses Brown has been one of this season’s most pleasant surprises, writes Nick Gallo of OKCThunder.com. After earning First Team and All-Defensive Team honors in the G League, the 21-year-old center has continued that level of play with the Thunder, averaging 11.5 points and 11.8 rebounds since being added to the rotation after the All-Star break. “I’m just a player that plays hard and does everything that is asked of me to do. I’m very into the game,” Brown said. “This is what I love to do. I can’t really see myself doing anything else. Not saying that I can’t, but I just don’t want to.”
- Teams are starting to notice how dangerous Thunder guard Ty Jerome is as a three-point shooter, states Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. Jerome has been limited to 16 games after suffering a high ankle sprain in the preseason, but he’s shooting 42.5% from beyond the arc.
- The Timberwolves haven’t set a timetable for D’Angelo Russell to return from knee surgery, but there are indications it might happen this week, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Russell underwent an arthroscopic procedure in mid-February and was projected to miss four to six weeks. Minnesota may need him to replace Malik Beasley, who strained a hamstring Friday night. “It’s more minor than it is significant,” coach Chris Finch said, “but these things are tricky with hamstrings.”