Man, it must feel good to be Michael Porter Jr. today. The 14th pick of the 2018 draft class just got PAID.
He’s got to earn some of that money in bonuses by making an all-NBA team this season, but even without the bonus it looks like he’s going to be taking $172 million to the bank. That’s a hell of an incentive to play well this season, too, so let’s see what he produces for the Nuggets.
That’s an astronomical amount of money for someone who turned 23 this year, but the Nuggets were clearly bullish about his future potential after he showed glimpses of greatness. Here’s a re-enactment of how he probably feels today:
When Jamal Murray went down with an ACL injury in April, Porter Jr’s regular season stats climbed up to 23.5 PPG, 6.1 RPG and 1.5 APG on shooting splits of 56/48.9/85.4. His numbers took a hit in the playoffs, where he averaged 17.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG and 1.3 APG, with shooting splits of 47.4/39.7/81, but he was also playing through injury.
Still, going from someone who one doctor felt wouldn’t play in the NBA, to a max extension kind of player, is one hell of a turnaround.
MPJ is a shot taker, and a shot maker. He’s never going to be a main facilitator, but a team led by Nikola Jokic doesn’t need someone to play that role. What the Nuggets need, especially if they want to be serious contenders, is someone who can make buckets, especially when Murray isn’t on the floor. In that respect, MPJ has the potential to become one of the league’s best.
It’s been a pretty damn good season for some of the 2018 class, and he’s joining some good company in Luka Doncic, Trae Young, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the max-extension gang.
There’s still a lot of questions about how the Nuggets will look in the short-term, considering Murray’s road to recovery, but Denver is clearly looking to go all-in with their current core. They’ve now got three players with max contracts, so for better or for worse, we’re going to see this crew play together for a while.
We’ll be taking a deeper look at the Nuggets and their hopes for contention over the next few years later this week. Stay tuned!