The parade of forwards in the top 10 of this years draft continues with Michael Porter Jr. of Missouri following in the shoes of Mo Bamba, Jaren Jackson Jr., Marvin Bagley III, and Deandre Ayton. Unlike his predecessors, Porter Jr. is a relative unknown after having to forgo much of his freshman season due to a spinal disc surgery early in the season. However, he was a highly rated prospect heading into college and there's still plenty of upside to keep teams (and Brew Hoop's voters) interested.
First and foremost, we have to acknowledge Michael's sheer athletic ability and physical dimensions. He's 19 going on 20, stands at 7’0”, has a 7’5” wingspan, and weighed in at 234 pounds. Those numbers are pretty good, but when you combine them with the astoudning ease with which he manipulates his body on the court and you've got a forward worth salivating over. That combo means there's a ton of upside to his game at the NBA level with the possibility of his becoming an elite player on both ends of the floor. He may bully smaller defenders switched onto him, blow past traditional forwards and centers, and keep pace with both of them on defense.
Statistically, there isn’t a ton to work with since Porter only played in three games during his year at Mizzou. He averaged only 10.0 points and 6.7 rebounds, but if you want some crazy stats, just look at his per 40 minute tallies: 22.6 points, 15.1 rebounds, and 2.3 steals (and a defensive rebound rate of 32.5%!). That's the smallest of Small Sample Size Theater, but it is all we've got to go on. According to reports, he's a skilled scorer with a shooting range stretching to the NBA three.
A guy like Michael Porter Jr., even with all the upside, still has some dangers as a lottery pick. The most obvious is the nature of his back injury that sidelined him for nearly an entire season. I won't pretend to know a lick about back injuries, and perhaps his is benign, but that must be a cause for concern. Additionally, many have noted that he can be a bit... spacey on defense. For a guy with his physical tools, the rate at which he can get lost in no-man's-land off-ball on D is concerning. Perhaps the right coaching staff can get him to commit on that end of the floor, but for now his value is derived more from his scoring mentality.
Overall, Porter Jr. is one big question mark; perhaps the biggest at the top of the draft. Much of his game is to be desired in a modern NBA forward, but there just isn't a track record that we can evaluate from the outside. Perhaps he'll show enough in pre-draft workouts to convince a team that he's the real deal. No matter what, he'll be one of the most interesting rookies next season. But, enough about Michael. Who is destined to be taken number seven?
Brew Hoop Community Draft Board Rankings
1. Deandre Ayton - C, Arizona (The Stepien Profile)
2. Luka Doncic - PG, Real Madrid (The Stepien Profile)
3. Marvin Bagley III - C, Duke (The Stepien Profile)
4. Jaren Jackson Jr. - PF/C, Michigan State (The Stepien Profile)
5. Mohamed Bamba - PF/C Texas (The Stepien Profile)
6. Michael Porter Jr. - PF, Mizzou (The Stepien Profile)
My Pick for the #7 spot on the Brew Hoop Community draft board is:
This poll is closed
Wendell Carter Jr.
Lonnie Walker IV
Other (put in the comments)