The Mystery That Is Michael Porter Jr.

Jun 19, 2018 | by Joan Niesen,

On a Saturday in early June, less than two weeks before the NBA draft, Michael Porter Jr. spent more minutes draining threes and hamming with Isiah Thomas on NBATV than he had playing basketball in his college career. He was on the court—surrounded by his family, trainer, and representatives from his agency—at a gym in Chicago’s Gold Coast for more than an hour; at the University of Missouri, Porter saw just 53 minutes over the course of a frustrating season.

The 6’10”, 215-pound forward is projected as a top pick in Thursday’s NBA draft—and that categorization has applied for years, since Porter was a high school standout first in Missouri and then in Seattle, where he originally committed to play for the University of Washington. A coaching change for the Huskies sent him back to the town where he’d spent most of his childhood to play for Missouri, and Porter, along with new coach Cuonzo Martin, was supposed to be the savior for a program that had fallen off a cliff in recent seasons. Instead, he had surgery on the L3/L4 discs in November after playing just two minutes of collegiate basketball.

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