Updated: Sep 17, 2020
When Michael Porter Jr. was selected with the 14th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, it came as no suprise. Originally a top-three prospect, Porter suffered a series of hip and back injuries during his college season. Many teams were concerned about his injuries, as in recent years, many top picks had their careers cut short due to physical complications. Greg Oden is an example of this. At one point, MPJ's back was so bad that he canceled a workout in front of lottery teams because he couldn't get out of bed.
When he ended up sliding past all the lottery teams in the draft, he was viewed as just a role player that could add some youth to Denver's already young lineup. However, against the Thunder, he proved to be one of the Nuggets' most valuable players. With 37 points and 12 rebounds he propelled his team to a gritty overtime win.
Against the Clippers, he was all business. Although his stat line doesn't speak volumes, his last two plays do. When the Nuggets were uo 102-100, Porter hit a three from the wing to clinch a five-point lead. When Ivica Zubac of the Clippers tried to shorten the margin with a dunk, MPJ then denied him and sent the ball careening off the glass.
Throughout of the game, Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic both put up staggering performances (26 points and 22 points respectively). The Nuggets shot the deep ball very effectively in the second half to overcome a 16 point deficit. Jamal Murray went 5-7 from deep, with three in the fourth quarter.
In a post-game interview, Porter said that the Nuggets cannot rely only on Murray and Jokic; other players need to step up. He is optimistic about playing a bigger role in Game 6 and hopes to be able to contribute to forcing a Game 7. If the Nuggets can pull off what they did in the first round, they might be able to make Los Angeles slip from a 3-1 lead. They'll then go to the conference finals for the first time in over a decade (2009).