3 NBA teams that Michael Porter Jr. would help the most
One of the most intriguing prospects in the entire 2018 NBA Draft class is former Mizzou F Michael Porter Jr.
Porter only played in one regular-season game before injuring his back. He then returned for the SEC Tournament and NCAA Tournament, but the Tigers didn’t fare well in either event.
Now, MPJ is off to the NBA, where he’s still likely to be a top-10 pick Thursday night, perhaps sneaking into the top five behind guys like Deandre Ayton, Luka Doncic, Marvin Bagley III and Jaren Jackson Jr.
So, where will Porter end up? That’s a big question when it comes to the NBA, as stepping into a bad situation can derail a promising career before it even gets started.
Here are the three teams where Porter could find the most success both as a rookie and over the next few years:
1. Dallas Mavericks
Porter’s ceiling is somewhere in the range of “Dirk Nowitzki with a handle,” so what better place for him to hone his skills than in Dallas, where Nowitzki will be playing a lesser role in what could be his final year in the NBA.
Nowitzki could take the 6-10 Porter under his wing, show him the ropes and then turn him loose on the NBA for the 2019-20 season. If there’s one thing Nowitzki knows, it’s being a big man with a jumper, and Porter could be just that for the Mavericks for the next 15 years if all goes well.
Add in the fact that he’d get to play with dynamic PG Dennis Smith Jr., who was Dallas’s first-round pick in 2017, and the Mavs are the ideal situation for the talented forward.
With the No. 5 overall pick, this is about the range that MPJ would hear his name called, so it wouldn’t be too surprising to see him head to Dallas to start his NBA career.
2. Orlando Magic
The Magic are entering the final seasons of big men Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic’s contracts, so it’s likely the struggling team will look to trade those expiring contracts either this offseason or before the trade deadline.
That would leave a chance for Porter to step in and play either the 3 or the 4, and it would be interesting for another reason, too. That’s because, much like with Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, Porter would have a chance to have the ball in his hands more often.
Porter actually is quite comfortable with the ball in his hands, and if he can make plays from a point-forward position, he could fit right in with the Magic, who haven’t been able to find a quality point guard since Jameer Nelson left.
With the No. 6 overall pick, the Magic could certainly see MPJ drop to them. If he does, they’d be wise to snag him quickly and give him the tools he needs to have success right away.
3. Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers have the No. 12 and No. 13 picks in the first round. They could wait to see if Porter falls to them, as many teams picking early might have concerns about the back injury that kept MPJ out for most of his one year at Mizzou.
However, the Clippers could also probably use one or both of those picks to move up in the first round, but probably not to move all the way into the top four. Therefore, if they like MPJ, they could potentially do what it takes to get into the part of the draft where he’ll likely be selected.
For a team like the Clippers, who will need a new star in the post-Blake Griffin and post-Chris Paul era, Porter could be the guy. His offensive game in the NBA should be similar to Griffin’s, and with DeAndre Jordan doing most of the rebounding and rim-protecting, Porter would be very much in his comfort zone in Los Angeles.