DENVER, CO – They say that sometimes the biggest tragedy is what could have been, instead of what actually happened. Sadly, in the case of Denver Nuggets small forward Michael Porter Jr. it’s more of what could have been.
In a stacked top-heavy conference such as the West that has NBA title contenders such as the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers, Houston Rockets, Utah Jazz, Portland Trail Blazers, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors, NBA sports betting sites have Denver at +1400 and with the additions of Bol Bol via a draft-day trade, and the return of veteran power forward Paul Millsap, as Denver opted in on the third and final year of his $30.4 million contract.
What remains to be seen is if he may be the missing piece that Denver has lacked for so long.
If you’re a Nuggets fan, imagine a possible starting lineup of All-Star center Nikola Jokic, point guard Jamal Murray, the fore mentioned Millsap, shooting guard Gary Harris and Porter Jr.
Very few teams can claim a swingman with as much athleticism and upside as Denver, and Porter Jr. is certainly that.
Selected 14th overall in the 2018 NBA Draft, the 6’10 210-pound former Missouri Tiger standout has not had a chance to live up to his promise due to injuries and a case of unfortunate injuries. One of the most highly-touted prospects to come out of high school, Porter earned accolades such as being named McDonald’s All-American Game MVP, Mr. Basketball USA, USA Today Player Of The Year, Gatorade National Player of the Year and Naismith Prep Player of the Year before committing to his adopted home state Tigers down in Columbia.
Sadly, he would suffer a lower back injury which required surgery, and ultimately a successful microdiscectomy of his L3-L4 spinal discs. Porter would play one game at Mizzou before deciding to forgo his remaining eligibility and go pro. Once projected to go as high as No.1 overall, Porter Jr. slipped to No.14 where the Nuggets would select him, and due to his concerns over his back, sat out his entire rookie season. Reports out of Denver are that he underwent a successful second back surgery, and could make his NBA debut this coming season.
If that is indeed the case, then the Nuggets, who came off of one of their most successful seasons in franchise history by finishing with the second-best record in the West at 54-28 and going all the way to the Western Conference semifinals, before losing to the Portland Trail Blazers in seven games, boast one of the NBA’s most talented and balanced young rosters led by C Nikola Jokic and PG Jamal Murray.
Hopefully, for Denver, Porter Jr. will make that duo into a Mile-High City trio.
With Golden State down, and the West as wide-open as it’s ever been, getting a player like Porter Jr. would possibly put the Nuggets over the hump.