Michael Porter Jr. is Stepping Up Big Time For the Denver Nuggets

Michael Porter Nuggets Background

  • Michael Porter Jr. scored a career-high 39 points in Denver’s win against the Houston Rockets last Saturday
  • Porter has been averaging over 25 points per game while shooting 55% from deep since Jamal Murray’s ACL injury.
  • The Nuggets are in firm control of 4th place in the Western Conference team standings.

The Denver Nuggets took a gamble with Michael Porter Jr. in the 2018 Draft. That gambit is paying off this season.

Once considered the best player in his draft class, Porter was red flagged by scouts due to his injury history. But the Denver Nuggets took their chance by drafting him in 2018 and after a couple of years of slowly breaking him into the flow of things, Porter is proving his doubters wrong.

MPJ showed flashes of brilliance during the Orlando Bubble tournament. His improvement continued this season, where he is averaging career-highs in many statistical categories.

Since the All-Star break, Porter has been lights out for Denver. The former University of Missouri Tiger has shot 57.1% from the field, 47.0 from behind the three-point area, and has an effective field goal of 66.9% while scoring 22.2 points per game during the period.

Then after the Nuggets lost Jamal Murray to a season ending ACL injury, Porter has been asked to do more. And he has happily obliged.

Showtime Porter

Porter has taken on a bigger offensive role with Jamal Murray’s injury. And in the six games that Denver has been without Murray so far, MPJ has averaged over 25 points per game on 15 shot attempts while shooting 55% from behind the three point area. In their last game against the Houston Rockets on Saturday, Porter delivered his best game yet in the NBA.

The 22-year old 14th overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft scored a career-high 39 points on 13-21 shooting including 8-12 from deep. Porter also shot 5-5 from the foul line while also grabbing six rebounds, issuing two assists, and blocking three shots in 36 minutes of playing time. Denver beat Houston 129-1116 for their 13th win in their last 16 games despite dealing with backcourt injuries.

After the game, PJ Dozier talked about Porter Jr. stepping into a bigger offensive role as of late because of the injuries to the team’s backcourt. And Dozier called him “Showtime” because he says that Porter Jr. is definitely ready for the big stage.

Nuggets Injury Woes Continue

The Denver backcourt has been compromised with Murray’s ACL injury and Monte Morris still out with a right hamstring strain. Against the Warriors last Friday, Will Barton joined Denver’s injury list after suffering a hamstring strain. According to head coach Mike Malone, Barton’s injury is “significant” and he does not expect him to play in the “forseeable future”.

Barton is averaging 12.4 points , 4.1 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game through 55 games and like Porter, has taken on a bigger offensive role since Murray got hurt. With Barton out too, the Nuggets went with P.J Dozier who also delivered a career-game against Houston.

The injuries may not affect the Nuggets during the remainder of the regular season as they are well in control of the 4th seed in the Western Conference team standings with a 39-21 record, four games ahead of the 5th seeded Los Angeles Lakers with only 12 games left to play in the regular season for Denver. However, if they are to beat the Lakers in the first round, someone has to step up to replace Murray’s role on offense.

Right now, there’s no question that it’s Michael Porter Jr. who’s filling the void left by Jamal Murray. The kid is supremely talented and is not afraid of the big moment. If the Nuggets are to go deep in the playoffs, there’s no question that Michael Porter Jr. will play a big role in that.

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Shane Acedera / Author

Shane grew up watching the Magic & Bird rivalry but ended up rooting for Detroit's Bad Boys team in the 1990s NBA. He loves to tell sports stories and has been writing about sports since high school. When Shane isn't busy jotting down his thoughts, he's just chillin' at home with his wife Rocelle and their two dogs named Horry and Fisher. He recently added a new family member, adopting a handsome retired K-9 named Ranger.