Michael Porter Jr.’s name has been a topic of conversation in the bubble, but wrongly tied to the Knicks.
Anyone who has been following the New York Knicks for more than a minute knows about the constant battle between the team’s diehard fanbase and the mainstream NBA media. In the opinion of many Knicks faithful, there is a certain section of the media that is biased in how they cover the blue and orange, focusing on imaginary drama to generate clicks.
Jonathan Marci from Knicks Film School, blogger turned journalist, once compared the basketball media culture to the characters from the movie Mean Girls.
After LeBron James, the basketball media’s favorite topic seems to be the failures of the Knicks. They love to revel in the team’s misfortunes so much that they sometimes ignore the real stories that are influencing the landscape of the NBA. Below is the first in a series of stories that have failed to gain any traction since they don’t fit the ‘LOL Knicks’ narrative.
Los Angeles Clippers and Michael Porter Jr.
Micheal Porter Jr.’s (MPJ) recent performance in the bubble has not resulted in much praise for the Denver Nuggets, the team that selected him with the 14th pick in the 2018 draft. On the contrary it has sparked criticism for why he was overlooked in the draft. But the criticism is only pointed at one team, you guess it, the New York Knicks.
If you are going to criticize a team for not taking the enormous risk which is involved in selecting a player that only played 3 games in college due to a back injury that required two surgeries and was going to rob him of his rookie season, then that team should be one that had nothing to lose.
The team that shouldn’t be criticized is the one that already had its’ only star player recovering from a serious injury that could derail his career. It is too risky for a franchise to have their two building blocks be players recovering from significant injuries that could damage their effectiveness. If you are going to criticize a team, then it should be one that could most afford to take that risk. A team in a similar position as the Nuggets. That team is the Los Angeles Clippers.
While it’s hard to criticize the Clippers now since they have done a great job building a team that is one of the favorites to win the championship, a bad decision is a bad decision. Especially one that could be the different between your team winning not just one but possibly multiple championships.
The Clippers had not one but two picks before Denver in the 2018 draft, so they passed on MPJ twice! They used the 12th pick to acquire Shai Gilgeous-Alexander(SGA), then selected Jerome Robinson with the 13th pick. The Robinson selection was considered a reach, as no one had him going that high in the draft. Needless to say Jerome Robinson didn’t work out and was sent to Washington at the trade deadline. He was included as a throw-in in the Marcus Morris trade.
Ironically, MPJ could have been that player that replaces Marcus Morris next season. The Clippers traded a first round draft pick to the Knicks just to have Marcus Morris for this season’s playoff run.
Porter Jr. could have also turned into that needed third star, but on a rookie contract that would have been invaluable, as it would have given them much needed cap flexibility. At the very least, he could have been used as an asset in a trade for a veteran star, like a Bradley Beal. Similar to what the Clippers did with the player selected two spots before him in the draft: SGA was the main piece in the Paul George trade.
But now he might be all those things for Denver, which was a good team that no one considered talented enough to come out of the West until now.