- Michael Porter Jr. will play his first NBA season this year after missing last year due to injury
- Porter Jr. will compete against Zion Williamson for Rookie of the Year
- The Nuggets rookie checked into an organized basketball game for the first time in 19 months yesterday
The 2019-20 NBA season is just weeks away, and with one of the busiest offseason in NBA history, and a highly coveted draft class, everyone is waiting for the season to start.
Zion Williamson has been a star from day one, but Michael Porter Jr. checked into a preseason game for the Denver Nuggets last night after sitting out for 571 days, and his NBA Rookie of the Year Odds have now shortened.
Is Porter Jr. worth a bet at +1600 to capture the award from Williamson’s grasp?
2020 NBA Rookie of the Year Odds
|Player||2020 NBA Rookie of the Year Odds|
|Michael Porter Jr||+1600|
*Odds taken 10/09/2019
Not Your Traditional Rookie
If this story sounds awfully familiar it’s because is. Ben Simmons took home Rookie of the Year after sitting out the year before. Porter Jr. missed what would’ve been his rookie year with ongoing back injuries that caused him two surgeries.
There’s not a player in the Association I’m more excited to see this year than Michael Porter Jr. People forget he was projected to go #1 in the ‘18 draft before his injury at Mizzou. He’s in a great situation in Denver.
— Mark Gunnels (@MarkAGunnels) October 1, 2019
Williamson is hands down the easy bet for ROY this upcoming year, if he stays healthy, but the #1 draft pick sustained an injury in his first game at Summer League in Las Vegas this year, and people started questioning his ability to stay healthy after the Pelicans shut him down.
First Game Back
Porter Jr. checked into his first game back in the third quarter on Tuesday, where he sunk his first shot he took, over a 7-footer.
He ended up playing 17 minutes and scoring nine points on 4-7 FG, 1-2 FT and grabbed three rebounds.
Aside from one goaltending call, Porter Jr. looked as if he hasn’t just sat out 19 months. The Nuggets won 105-94.
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) October 9, 2019
Porter Jr. finds himself surrounded by some veteran players as well, allowing him to ease into his role with the Nuggets. Being naturally gifted on the offensively side allows him to dig deep defensively, something that coaches have touched on as being an area to work on for the rookie.
“He’s a gifted scorer. He can take and make big shots and tough shots, but he has to lock in on the defensive end. If he does that, he has a chance to be an excellent player.” – Coach Michael Malone
If the rookie wants to compete with the likes of Zion, he’s going to have to continue to play at the pace he’s at, while refining his defense. Zion put up 16 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and three steals in his debut as the Pelicans beat the Hawks, 133-109.
A Legitimate Chance?
Only a few years ago, the 6-foot-10 prodigy seemed the have the basketball world at his fingertips. He was scouted by colleges when he was in middle school, and was the No. 1 high school prospect in the United States.
But that back injury that forced him to leave the first game of his freshman year at Missouri changed everything. Despite all that, his talents were undeniable, becoming a lottery pick in the 2018 draft.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) September 22, 2019
His odds have shortened from +1800 to +1600, and he has somewhat of an upper hand on his fellow rookies in a few categories. Maturity and patience.
It’s going to take a lot statistically wise to essentially dethrone Williamson, and it’s not like Porter Jr. is right behind him in the odds. He would still have to outplay R.J. Barrett as well as Ja Morant.
But Porter Jr. has the ability and skillset to make things interesting. All signs point to him being a dark horse this year.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.