Denver Nuggets rookie Michael Porter Jr. wasted no time showing how much he loves the game.
Following the Denver Nuggets’ elimination from the 2020 NBA Playoffs, rookie forward Michael Porter Jr. made his offseason plans known: he’s going to put in the work that’s necessary to become a complete player.
Entering an offseason fully healthy for the first time due to having two back surgeries before he even played his first NBA game, Porter’s already made good on his word. Although the Nuggets have only been out of the bubble for three weeks, MPJ’s former coach — the University of Missouri’s Cuonzo Martin — said that he spotted the 22-year-old sharpshooter last week.
Porter, born and raised in Missouri, went to the Tigers’ campus to work out with his brother (Jontay Porter) and to play some pick-up basketball (h/t USA Today Sports’ Cody Taylor):
He came in last Thursday or Friday, worked out with Jontay. He’s like, ‘Coach, are the guys working out?’ He wanted to play some 5-on-5. I’m like, ‘Man, you just left the bubble!’ That’s what’s in him; he just loves to play basketball.
It’s a shame for Mizzou fans that didn’t get a chance to see the way he scores the ball at a high level. Think about it, that man is scoring at the NBA level at a high clip. It’s just a matter of time once he figures out what Denver wants from him, playing on both ends of the floor. He’s a guy that can really score the ball and he’s a threat to score every time down, that’s what makes him dangerous.
The passion that MPJ has for the game is encouraging for those that want to be confident in his development, as it leads one to believe that Porter is enthusiastic about being the best player he can be.
As Martin points out, “it’s a shame” Porter didn’t get to play more extensively in college, missing all but three of Missouri’s games due to injury. However, part of his seemingly insatiable desire to hoop likely ties into the fact that he missed the majority of his lone collegiate season and then was all but unable to play in what should have been his rookie season in the NBA (2018-19).
Porter obviously doesn’t have it figured out; he needs to become a better playmaker and increase both his understanding and awareness on both ends. Nonetheless, he’s shown himself to be a uniquely talented shooter, able to convert incredibly tough shots from all three levels when he’s not flying in for second-chance points.
Frankly, Porter’s appearance at the University of Missouri doesn’t point to a coordinated effort to improve his game. That doesn’t change the fact the mindset Porter has to have to complete workouts and play basketball after spending nearly three straight months in the bubble doing just that.
The guy loves the game; Nuggets fans will have to hope the basketball gods reward him for it.