Denver Nuggets: How Michael Porter Jr is the Next Man Up
It has not been an easy two weeks for the Denver Nuggets and their fans. On April 12th, Jamal Murray went down holding his knee in the last 50 seconds against the Golden State Warriors. The next day it was revealed he had a torn ACL. He was able to get surgery within that same week and is looking to come back in a year. Luckily there was no further damage discovered, so he could be back in less than a year. With the Nuggets’ top guard down, Monte Morris was brought in from the bench to start in Jamal’s place.
Just two games into Monte Morris’ new role, he was taken to the locker room on April 16th for a hamstring strain against the Houston Rockets. There has been no update as to when Morris will be back, but there are high hopes he’ll be back before the playoffs start. A week after Monte went out, Will Barton had a similar hamstring problem 50 seconds into the game against the Warriors at Chase Center. Barton is said to be out for the next several games but will be back before the playoffs. With such a compact schedule this year, the league has had several injuries occurring with nearly every team.
How Michael Porter Jr. is the Next Man Up
Michael Porter: A Look at the Numbers
In the six games Jamal Murray has been out, Nikola Jokić has averaged 26.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 6.2 assists. The Nuggets have gone 5-1 without Jamal, but that’s not because Jokić has been carrying his team alone. Michael Porter has taken a big step up to be the second option on this Nuggets offense. In Porter’s last 25 games, he has scored 20+ points in 18 of those games while averaging 58/48/78 percent shooting. Since Jamal’s injury, Porter has averaged 24.8 points and 6.3 rebounds on 51.8 percent shooting from three on 8.5 attempts per game.
In the last two games, Porter has scored seven or more three-pointers each game joining J.R. Smith (2009) and Danilo Gallinari (2015) as the only other Nuggets players to do this. On Saturday, April 24th, Porter had himself a career night dropping a new high of 39 points in a 129-116 win over the Houston Rockets. After his outstanding performance, Michael Porter (with a big smile on his face) told the media, “Monte came up with the nickname (showtime). So, yeah, we go with that.”
What the Future Could Hold
With the jump he has made between last season and this season, there is a high chance Michael Porter can be named an All-Star next year. It is sad and unfortunate with all the injuries the league has gone through. Yet, there’s no doubt in my mind Jamal Murray will come back stronger and better than ever. That goes for Monte Morris and Will Barton as well. As Michael Porter Jr. takes the rest of this season to improve his all-around game further, I think the Denver Nuggets will be even scarier next year.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images