Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. reflects on his pre-draft journey and how close he was to being written off from the NBA.
Within the first two minutes of his collegiate debut with the University of Missouri in 2017, Michael Porter Jr. suffered a lower back injury that required surgery. It was a tough blow for the top NBA prospect and many questioned whether he would still be able to perform at a high level professionally, including an organization’s head doctor.
On June 21, 2018 Porter Jr. was drafted No. 14 overall by the Denver Nuggets. He dropped due to the questions surrounding his NBA capability, but the Nuggets put their faith in the almost 20-year-old from Columbia, MO.
Michael Porter Jr. was told that he would probably never play in the NBA
Amidst his comeback while preparing for the draft, Porter Jr. was told that he’d probably never play in the NBA and discussed this on The Old Man and The Three podcast, hosted by J.J. Redick and Tommy Alter.
Porter Jr.’s rehabilitation kept him from playing during the 2018-19 season, but the moment he had been waiting for came on Oct. 31, 2019. After waiting for a long 594 days to play in a game that wasn’t an exhibition, he made his NBA regular season debut.
The Los Angeles Clippers’ medical staff couldn’t have been more wrong. During the 2019-20 season, Porter Jr. averaged 9.3 points per game and last season he more than doubled that with 19 points per game.
Denver will pose a tough threat in the Western Conference this season and Porter Jr. will play a large role in leading that charge after being counted out from being in the league a mere three years ago.
For someone that would probably never play in the NBA, Porter Jr. is doing pretty good for himself.