(Photo credit: USA TODAY Sports via Reuters/Patrick Gorski)
Michael Porter disappointingly spent his only season at the University of Missouri injured, but what scouts saw in high school, they liked. A lot. Let's elaborate on the pros and cons of drafting this potential NBA star.
Strengths and weaknesses
It might be easy to play well at high school level, but it’s not easy to look like Kevin Durant while doing so. Michael Porter did. With an elite size/shooter/athlete package, At 6’10" with a 7’0" wingspan, Porter could easily play small-ball power forward or center in today’s game. Coached by former University of Washington and NBA star Brandon Roy in high school, Porter has excellent offensive instincts, knowing when and where to attack, and he’s already an excellent rebounder, which is a trait that could transition to the defensive side of the ball.
In terms of weaknesses, Porter’s detractors have noted his struggles with his off-hand, and they’re not wrong, making him occasionally predictable when driving to the rim or when posting up. However, it takes years for the NBA’s best to expand on their games like Porter will have to. He’s also hard to project as a defender, but the tools are certainly there.
Another aspect difficult to project about Porter is where he falls in this draft. Without a season of college basketball, he’s unlikely to go first overall, and it may only be the Memphis Grizzlies’ glaring hole on the wing that keeps him in the top two. Beyond that, Porter could go literally anywhere in the top ten, and it’s hard to see him falling that far. His professional projection is too tempting to get past the Sacramento Kings, who are privy to infatuation of a player such as him.
Will he succeed at NBA level?
Everything Porter does well or projects to do well is in vogue at the professional level, and is not about go out of style. Scoring? Check. Shooting? Check. Athleticism? Length? Check and check. Porter’s floor is high, and his ceiling heavenly high. It’d be more surprising not to see him succeed.
Nevertheless, Porter’s jump to the pros is obviously far larger than anyone else’s. Having not played virtually any college ball, acclimatizing to the NBA will be difficult. The worst-case scenario is that his playmaking simply doesn’t come along at the professional level, and all you’re left with is a high-end scorer and plus defender – think Andrew Wiggins.
Why should teams pick him?
When you think of some of the players Porter projects to – LeBron James, Durant – you’re thinking of some of the best players in the world, players who make their teammates better and who don’t suffer through failed seasons. For whoever drafts Porter, this is all distinctly within reach, and isn’t that why we play basketball in the first place?
Which NBA franchise needs Michael Porter in their team? Comment below!