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Liberty Ballers Community Big Board: #6

Highly regarded college player drops due to a back injury? Sounds familiar.

NCAA Basketball Tournament - First Round - Nashville Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Coming in at #5 on our Community Big Board is 6’10” forward Michael Porter Jr. Originally committed to Washington, Porter Jr. received his release after Lorenzo Romar was fired as head coach, along with Porter’s father who was on the staff. Porter Sr. got another assistant job at Missouri, and Michael and younger brother Jontay followed. Having averaged 36.2 points and 13.6 rebounds in high school and receiving MVP honors of the McDonald’s All-American Game, Porter Jr. was expected to revitalize the Tigers program.

Instead, just two minutes into his college career, Porter checked out of the game and would have to undergo microdiscectomy surgery to repair his L3-L4 spinal disks. He returned for Missouri’s two postseason games, losses in the first round of the SEC and NCAA tournaments. Still, with a grand total of just 53 minutes of college ball under his belt, and spinal surgery representing a potential red flag, Porter makes for one of the highest variance players in the draft.

Even after the injury though, Porter certainly doesn’t lack for confidence, as he recently called himself the “best player in the draft”. At the NBA draft combine, he measured just 6.4% body fat, excellent news considering he missed most of last season with the back injury. Porter also displayed good length with a 9’0.5” standing reach. He should be able to slide between forward positions, but you think would ultimately settle as a small-ball power forward.

Porter profiles in the Kevin Durant mold, insomuch as he should be able to get his shot from anywhere thanks to his size and high release point. However, his ball-handling in the half court is very much a concern, and he has settled for jumpers far too often. His ability as a facilitator has also been a question mark, and that question wasn’t answered by his 1 career assist in college and 36.5% usage rate.

Defensively, Porter possesses great length and quickness that should enable him to slide between a variety of defensive matchups. However, his fundamentals have always been viewed as lacking and he never quite showed the mentality to want to get after it on the defensive end. The hope is that with NBA coaching and the accountability that not being gifted playing time would provide, someone could unlock the potential that Porter’s raw tools afford him.

Ultimately, some team is going to talk themselves into Porter still being the guy people in draft circles once discussed as potentially the top player in this class. There is a lot of buzz about the Clippers using the #12 and #13 picks to move up and take Porter, ironic considering he profiles as the sort of wing they sought after for years when the other four spots in their starting lineup were set in stone. Some people have also suggested the Sixers should try to move up a couple spots from #10 if Porter is still available, as he certainly would meet the team’s need for additional help on the wing. After all, guy who has dropped thanks to a back injury? He’s practically a Sixer already!

We’ll eventually find out how much of Porter is boom and how much is bust.

Now, who would make for the right selection at #6?


Which player should be selected at #6?

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    Trae Young
    (126 votes)
  • 2%
    Collin Sexton
    (16 votes)
  • 51%
    Mo Bamba
    (292 votes)
  • 9%
    Wendell Carter Jr.
    (52 votes)
  • 11%
    Mikal Bridges
    (66 votes)
  • 3%
    Miles Bridges
    (20 votes)
572 votes total Vote Now

Liberty Ballers Big Board:

  1. Luka Dončić - PG/SG - Real Madrid
  2. DeAndre Ayton - C - Arizona
  3. Jaren Jackson Jr. - PF/C - Michigan State
  4. Marvin Bagley III - PF, Duke
  5. Michael Porter Jr. - F, Missouri
  6. To be determined

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