The patience and foresight of the Nuggets front office landed them a rookie with high upside and undeniable raw talent in Michael Porter Jr. They continue to have faith that the high risk move will pay off.
While maybe not a Woj bomb of typical magnitude, a statement was made that is immensely important to the future of the Nuggets.
Zach Lowe and Adrian Wojnarowski collaborated on Sunday night with their Trade Special Show, to discuss the opening of NBA trade season. During this episode, the two reviewed hypothetical trades. Lowe’s favorite possible trade was a deal which included Gary Harris, salary filler, and maybe Michael Porter Jr.
The reply to this trade was encouraging for Nuggets fans who wish to keep Porter. Wojnarowski rebutted that offer, “Michael Porter Jr. is untouchable”.
That’s about the most reliable source that we can hear from. Denver will not trade away Porter.
What does this mean?
The Nuggets trust Michael Porter Jr.
The front office realizes that the window for Denver is opening soon. By declaring Porter as an untouchable asset, they are investing in him as a central piece in their plans. He’s now officially part of the young core that makes Denver so exciting.
He was always an x-factor since the day of his draft. He was a high-risk, high-reward project. He fell to the 14th pick and the Nuggets took a chance on him.
Now, he’s more than that. He’s a challenge, according to Michael Malone.
Malone said, “Right now, the biggest challenge we have this year is Michael Porter Jr. He is a young guy who really hasn’t played in two years. He needs game minutes and we are trying to get him those as much as possible while also understanding, on the other side of that coin, the expectations are for us to be a team that competes for the Western Conference Finals. It is very very hard to do both, but I think allowing our young guys to play has been the key to them all developing and maturing.”
Coach Malone is attempting to strike a balance between giving Porter a steady diet of minutes, while not compromising the task at hand. He was reluctant to start the year, but we witnessed a different tone in the game against the Knicks, where Porter played in high leverage 3rd quarter minutes.
The attitude is shifting.
If the Nuggets successfully traverse this challenge, they could end up with yet another franchise cornerstone upon which their dynasty is to be constructed. Michael Porter Jr. has tremendous capability. His physical tools paired with his picture perfect jump shot is a tantalizing combination. An ideal development would be if Porter can become the elite perimeter player that the Nuggets need.
The deadly young frontcourt in Murray and Harris, as well as the face-of-the-franchise center Nikola Jokic, can be bridged together by the combo-forward ability of Michael Porter Jr.
The tools are there. Everyone sees it.
By telling other teams that he is completely unavailable, they show Michael that their confidence resides in him. They also place even more stock into his future. Aspirations bank on him, to some degree.
They concede that the possibility of opening their championship window now by dealing him would be shorter, or less realistic than waiting until Porter can reopen it.
Is this wise?
Only time will tell, but the message that they are sending is apparent.