The Denver Nuggets don’t have a first round draft pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, but it looks like they’ll finally get last year’s first round selection back on the court when the 2019-2020 season tips off.
Michael Porter Jr., who the Nuggets took with the 14th overall pick last summer, spent the entirety of his rookie campaign on the Nuggets bench as he recovered from back surgery. The injury caused him to miss all but three games during his only season at the University of Missouri, where he arrived as a highly touted five star prospect. The Nuggets held out a faint hope that they’d be able to get Porter Jr. back on the court at some point this season, but after the Nuggets dropped Game 7 to the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday, that hope has officially be dashed.
Porter Jr. met with the media for an exit interview on Monday morning and gave some encouraging news when he announced that he was pain free and planned on playing in the NBA’s Summer League in Las Vegas.
“I am expecting to play in Summer League,” Porter Jr. said. “Really I just want to show that I’m back and I’m feeling good and I’m ready to play.”
Porter Jr. said that he was able to play some 5-on-5 in practice, as well as a ton of 3-on-3. But he said he knew fairly early on that he wouldn’t be able to contribute during his rookie season like he’d once hoped.
“To be honest, going into the season, I did not expect myself to be able to play at 100 percent,” Porter Jr. said. “But the way I feel now is leaps and bounds beyond where I thought I’d be at this point, honestly. I feel so good, and I work so hard every day with these guys. I feel like a better player than I’ve ever been.”