This time a year ago, Michael Porter Jr. was in the conversation to be the first player selected in the 2018 NBA Draft, which will go down on Thursday.
Then a back injury struck not two minutes into his college career.
Since then, mounting character questions have contributed to a tumble down draft boards.
Please stop talking, Michael Porter Jr.
“Yeah, the intel from his time at Missouri was very, very poor,” ESPN draft expert Mike Schmitz said on the “Dunc’d On” podcast. “I think he has a lot of questions to answer about how is he going to fit in an NBA locker room.”
The St. Louis Dispatch’s Dave Matter also noted that Mizzou’s chemistry “crumbled when he returned” from injury for the Tigers’ last two games.
And now, it appears Porter’s caught a case of Ball-itis.
Michael Porter Jr: compares *himself* to Kevin Durant and Giannis, then says it’s an honor to be in the “same conversation” as them.
Meanwhile, he’s ~actually~ getting compared to Keith Van Horn and Harrison Barnes pic.twitter.com/VZMaDQ6DNz
— Ricky O’Donnell (@SBN_Ricky) June 19, 2018
You know what? I’ll forgive him the Durant comp. Not because he’ll be anywhere near as good (he won’t), but because they’re both tall guys who shoot, and because mixtape factories have been uttering KD’s name in relation to Porter in the name of YouTube views since he was a high school freshman.
The Giannis Antetokounmpo comp is laughable, however. I suppose they are both tall basketball players with hair and four limbs. But Porter is rarely praised for his defense or playmaking, and he’s not very long — you know, all the qualities that help make Giannis a rare style of leading man. Same goes for Tracy McGrady.
With his size, scoring ability, and so far unrealized defensive potential, Porter has a chance to be the best player in his class. But his recurring back issues and often-questioned work ethic mean he could also be out of the league before his rookie contract expires, making him the most extreme high-risk, high-reward prospect in the class.
Maybe removing his foot from his mouth could do away with both red flags.