Michael Porter played a total of nine games for the Denver Nuggets this season. At the start, fans were concerned and with good reason. Despite receiving a max contract, Porter was not performing up to standards. After his ninth outing, the news came out that brought his inconsistent play to light. The fourth year small forward had to have back surgery. A surgery that would likely sideline him for the rest of the season. Back issues were a large concern for Porter entering the league. It is widely considered that this is the reason he fell all the way down to the 14th pick in the NBA Draft, including the Los Angeles Clippers passing up on him two times in a row. For the record, the MPJ pick still looks like a steal for the Denver Nuggets and they just received promising news for their starting small forward.
Denver Nuggets: Bad Luck with Injuries This Season
To say Denver has had bad luck with injuries would be an understatement. Not only have they had to play nearly all year without MPJ, they have also been without their second star in Jamal Murray all season long. One may recall Murray tore his ACL last April in a regular season game against the Golden State Warriors. The injury bug in Denver also stems beyond their stars. Before being traded, PJ Dozier also tore his ACL at the start of the year. A solid and young guard with defensive potential who was eventually included in the three team deal that netted the Nuggets Bryn Forbes from the San Antonio Spurs. After that, the Nuggets still struggled with other minor injuries throughout the season. Guys like Austin Rivers, Will Barton, and JaMychal Green all had nicks and knacks along the way.
Michael Porter: His Recent Comments
Michael Porter raised eyebrows with his recent comments. “Right now, I’m taking it game by game. I’m not ruling anything out,” MPJ recently said in an interview with an ESPN reporter after Denver’s Game 1 loss. Porter had to undergo a lumbar spine surgery on December 1st of this season. It is surprising to hear MPJ make these comments and leave the door open for a playoff return. Nuggets fans are eagerly awaiting a Jamal Murray return, but seeing Michael Porter suit up would probably be the biggest surprise of the year. Especially when you consider the seriousness of any back injury. If he did come back this series, it is worth questioning whether he would be effective enough to turn the tide of this series.
Michael Porter’s Impact
This season’s nine game sample size does not do MPJ’s impact justice. Last year, he was a Most Improved Player of the Year candidate. Porter finished with totals of 19.0 points, 6.6 total rebounds, and an effective field goal percentage of 62.8 percent. While many question his capability on the defensive end of the floor, his offensive prowess cannot be questioned.
Adding another player able to go get an easy 20 points on any given night would give Nikola Jokic some much-needed help. However, it still may not be enough. Denver’s perimeter defense was exposed in Game 1 against the Warriors. The team allowed Golden State to shoot 45.7 percent from beyond the arc. It is also worth mentioning this happened despite Stephen Curry knocking off the rust after being out with a foot injury. Michael Porter would add an extra punch, but without Murray, it still most likely will not be enough for the Denver Nuggets.