NBA Draft Preview: Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr

Perhaps the most hyped freshman in the nation heading into last season, Porter hardly had a chance to live up to those vast expectations.

Two minutes into his first game at Missouri, he suffered a back injury that sidelined him for nearly four months. He returned for losses in the SEC and NCAA Tournaments, but the lanky playmaker’s potential is still largely shrouded in mystery.

Porter is a natural scorer who has a fantastic shooting stroke, and given his height he has no problem shooting over anyone on the floor at any time. He can handle the ball and excels in the open floor, needing very few strides to take the ball from one end to the other.

His length and relative quickness will allow him to defend multiple positions – Porter should easily be able to guard any forward and some centers and larger guards. There are definitely concerns with how Porter will continue to recover from his back injury – or if it will cause future issues – but there are larger questions about the physical nature of his game. He avoids contact and doesn’t seem to have an extra gear defensively, and he’s not a great rebounder given his size. He’s also not a particularly good passer.

Porter is hardly the first top prospect who comes in with the reputation as a scorer who can’t do much else, and perhaps those other areas will round into form and he’ll wind up as a complete player. He has as much star potential as anyone in the draft if he hits his ceiling, and the lack of certainty surrounding his game may actually work in his favor.

NBA front offices weren’t able to spend a year dissecting Porter’s weaknesses. They’ll take a close look at him during the pre-draft process but for now, Porter seems to have the best shot of anyone at joining Luka Doncic and Deandre Ayton as the first tier of players off the board in this draft.

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