Various NBA players have voiced their opinion about Michael Porter Jr.’s comments after Game 4.
Michael Porter Jr.’s postgame comments after the Denver Nuggets lost Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals to the Los Angeles Clippers have been a hot topic since the moment Porter’s frustrations were captured in a soundbite.
While there are many who agree with Porter’s opinion on diversifying their offensive attack, his decision not to keep his critique of the playcalling in-house has led to many fellow NBA players voicing their disapproval of his postgame presser.
Portland Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard, well-respected within the league both on and off the court, has been the most vocal about it.
However, Nikola Vucevic (Orlando Magic) and Rudy Gay (San Antonio Spurs) have also had something to say regarding MPJ’s oft-quoted criticism.
Even one of Porter’s former teammates, journeyman Jordan McRae, was critical of the rookie forward.
While Lillard was focusing on the team dynamic as his basis for disagreeing with Porter’s comments, Gay’s seems to take offense with Porter’s inexperience and McRae takes a shot at his former teammate’s defense. Lillard’s stance makes the far most sense as, even with Porter complimenting the team’s two best players in Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, his comments come off as brazen and selfish.
The idea that Porter being a rookie meaning he can’t offer an insightful perspective is steeped in arrogance and meritocracy. However, it’s also wrong as MPJ isn’t some rookie completely green behind the ears.
He sat on the sideline throughout the 2018-19 season as he got fully healthy, his father is a longtime assistant coach in the collegiate ranks, and his high school coach was none other than beloved former star Brandon Roy. That’s not to mention that he was talented enough to be ranked as the nation’s best high school recruit by Rivals and to be considered a top-five pick in the 2018 NBA Draft despite playing just three games in college.
Though he may not have the credibility of a veteran player, to act as if he has no idea what he’s talking about because of his designation of a rookie is obtuse.
Then there’s McRae, who has played on five teams in his four-year career and never been heralded for his defense.
Porter has come a long way on the defensive end since his lack of technique and awareness on that end were exposed by the Utah Jazz early in their first round series against the Nuggets. Opposing teams have an offensive rating of 112.0 when Porter is on the court this postseason and 124.9 when he’s off of it — only Gary Harris and Mason Plumlee have held opposing teams to a lower offensive rating when on the floor.
One area where MPJ almost always shined on the court is on offense, which is what’s allowed him to have the team’s third-highest scoring average (12.1) this postseason while playing the fifth-most minutes per game (25.4). Extrapolating those numbers to their per-36 counterparts, which wouldn’t be unreasonable with both Murray and Jokic playing more than 36 minutes per game, Porter is averaging 17.2 points per game (along with 10.1 rebounds per game).
However, while MPJ is clearly a talented player, this isn’t about the numbers.
It’s simply about unspoken rules, like calling out the coach in the media. It’s about making it seem like he’s the team’s savior, although he explicitly says that there are a number of Nuggets players who could help ease the burden on Murray and Joker.