Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Michael Porter Jr. goals for 2022-23: Stay healthy
Michael Porter Jr. has always been known as an absolute specimen. He’s 6’10” with a sweet stroke at that size rivalled only by the likes of Kevin Durant. That’s darn good company. Only, MPJ is actually bigger and stronger. He’s already filled out his nearly seven-foot frame and has the body type that one would think could handle the rigours of an NBA season with no problem.
Unfortunately, the reality has been very different for Porter Jr. After a high school career that saw him win not only Washington State’s Mr. Basketball award but also the Gatorade National High School Player of the Year award in 2017 as he absolutely dominated his peers, MPJ went to Missouri to play college ball.
There, he played only three games totalling 53 minutes in his freshman season due to back issues. His inability to prove himself at the collegiate level because of those back problems were a huge reason why he fell in the 2018 NBA Draft, when he should have surely been a lottery pick—and possibly a number one overall selection—based on his talent and ceiling.
Thankfully for the Nuggets, the Columbia, Missouri native fell to the 14th pick in that draft, and the powers that be in Denver brought him to the Centennial State. He didn’t play at all in his rookie season because of the back problems, but in his second year he put up very impressive numbers while playing 61 games during the COVID-shortened season.
He was once again hampered by his back last season, however, during which he was only able to play in nine games.
We all saw what this unicorn of a basketball player could do during those glimpses of health in the bubble (where he averaged 22 points on a 55/42/93 shooting line in the lead-up to the playoffs) and in his sophomore campaign, though, and that’s why he was signed to a five-year $172 million extension before last season.
Through six games this year, MPJ is averaging 18.5 points with an impressive 47/49/80 shooting line. You just don’t see very many guys a hair shy of seven feet shooting 50 percent from the 3-point line, and that undeniable talent and efficiency are why Porter Jr. needs to stay healthy this season so that he can help propel the Denver Nuggets to the next level in 2023.