Before arriving at Missouri, Michael Porter Jr. may not have been the consensus No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, but the 6’10 forward was on the very short list of options. Unfortunately, the talented freshman saw his season cut short by back surgery and, while there is still the possibility of a return this season, NBA teams may be forced to evaluate Porter Jr. for draft purposes without seeing him for meaningful minutes on a college basketball court.
That, of course, does not prohibit NBA teams from taking a player like Porter Jr., especially given the amount of exposure he had prior to college. Some top-tier prospects need college to showcase themselves on a national stage but, for Porter Jr., there was plenty of opportunity for that as a high school player and his consensus top-five prospect rating emerged from a considerable amount of evaluation.
Even so, Porter Jr.’s back injury could pose evaluation questions in that his medical reports will be crucial to teams as they look at where to put him on their big board. At 6’10 with the ability to function as a legitimate wing threat, Porter Jr. is the rare combination of a player with the ability to create for himself and others offensively while posing real length and athleticism to operate as a deterrent defensively. His health, though, could keep NBA teams away, especially given the fact that the 2018 class boasts strong depth at the top, including a battle for No. 1 overall status between Luka Doncic, DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III and others.
Porter Jr. may have clean medicals by the time the draft process arrives and, if that happens and teams are pleased with what they can evaluate, his absence from the college ranks fades into oblivion in favor of his immense talent. If that does not happen flawlessly, though, there is a risk that Porter Jr. could fall a bit on draft boards and, even if he checks out in full, the potential of recurrence for back injuries isn’t terribly inviting.
It is very difficult to project Michael Porter Jr. in a mock draft setting right now but, alas, we are forced to do just that. Where does he fall in this edition of our Dime Mock Draft? Let’s find out.