Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray haven’t played on the same court since April 12, 2021. When the Denver Nuggets fell to the Golden State Warriors just over a month before the start of the postseason, and Jamal Murray left the game late with a torn ACL.
On the side of Murray, there’s certainly reason for optimism following the work he put in with Team Canada this offseason along with his surprise appearance at the 2022 NBA Summer League. Where he competed in full-strength scrimmages and five-on-fives for the first time in over a year away from the game.
Now, it’s Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. who’s announcing to the world that he’s ready to play. Who posted a private workout session with his trainer Michael Messer in preparation for the season ahead.
In the full workout video you can see that his shot and handles are still just as smooth as they were a year ago in the 2020-21 NBA playoffs. When he averaged 17.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and over a steal per game with .474/.397/810 shooting splits, just months before nerve issues effectively ended his 2021-22 campaign.
Since that point, skepticism has grown immensely over Porter’s overall health and readiness for the season ahead. Particularly since he’s struggled with serious injuries since his college days as Missouri, having been limited to just three games with the Tigers and 55 games in his rookie season with the Denver Nuggets.
So the fact that he and his trainer feel confident enough to not only host this workout but post it to social media should offer enough reassurance that MPJ will be ready to go by the start of the 2022-23 NBA season.
However, the noise didn’t end there because MPJ was also on the Ball Don’t Stop podcast recently, where he sent a warning to the rest of the league.
"“What’s so crazy is that I still don’t feel that way (like he’s arrived). Whatever people say I don’t think I’m where I want to be or who I want to be, so it’s like, that kind of keeps me driven. Like, them games in the Bubble, it didn’t surprise me at all. Nothing I do will surprise me till I feel like I’ve really become one of the best. I want to be one of the best. It’s about getting healthy, just keep getting better.”"
It’s one thing to post workout clips on social media but it’s something entirely different to be this confident about your game almost a year out from undergoing back surgery. The fact that Michael Porter Jr. is claiming to be “not even close” to how good he can be is scary, to say the least.
Playing in 61 of 72 games, Porter managed over 19 points and 7 rebounds per game in 2021, shooting better than 54 percent from the field, 44 percent from deep and 79 percent from the line in over 31 minutes a night. If he were to maintain this level of efficiency and somehow get better, this would immediately thrust MPJ into All-Star conversation.
If both he and Murray can come back at full strength and continue to play at a high level, the Denver Nuggets will be a force to be reckoned with next season.