Nuggets’ Michael Malone addresses Michael Porter Jr.’s DNP vs. Hornets
Michael Porter Jr. did not suit up in the Denver Nuggets’ win over the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday. Sought for comment on this move, head coach Michael Malone defended his decision but says that it doesn’t immediately mean that Porter Jr. won’t play in the next game.
Per Mike Singer of the Denver Post, Malone pointed out that the Nuggets has ranked 27th in the NBA since the NBA All-Star break. As such, he’s making some minor tweaks to address this issue.
Asked Malone about Porter’s DNP, and he said it’s because Denver’s defense has ranked 27th in the NBA since the All-Star break.
“It doesn’t mean he won’t play against Cleveland.”
— Mike Singer (@msinger) March 6, 2020
Porter Jr. is the Nuggets’ 14th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. However, he sat out the entire 2018-19 year due to a back injury. This year, in 45 games (one start), the 6-foot-10 forward has averaged 7.8 points and 4.3 rebounds across 14.2 minutes.
Malone slowly integrated Porter Jr. into the line up by fielding him around five to 10 minutes per game. Come January, Porter Jr.’s minutes spiked to 21.4 minutes per game. Then come February, Porter Jr. suffered an ankle injury which sidelined him for most of the month.
Unlike most young players, Porter Jr. is in a unique position since he’s part of a team that’s considered a title contender. While most young players are trying to establish themselves, Porter Jr. is concerned about how he can help his crew.
“It’s pretty crazy. It’s my first year and we have a chance to win the championship,” Porter Jr. told Nuggets.com.“I get to be a part of it, I get to play a little bit. I’m just trying to get better and do what I can to help this team. [I’m] not really worried about my individual success. I’m more worried about how I can help this team.”
The Nuggets currently sport a 42-20 record and are bound to make the playoffs. Will Porter Jr. be able to aid his squad in their quest for that title?