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Nuggets coach Michael Malone on Michael Porter Jr. — ‘All the makings of a young star’

Nuggets, Michael Malone, Michael Porter Jr.

Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone had high praise for the development of Michael Porter Jr., noting that he “has all the makings of a young star.”

Porter has an interesting story to tell. Many experts thought he would be a top pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. However, teams were concerned about his lingering back issues. As a result, the former Missouri Tiger fell to 14th overall.

Though he went through two back surgeries, Porter has recovered, and he’s now back in action after sitting out his rookie season. In his debut with the Nuggets (Oct. 31, 2019), he racked up 15 points and four rebounds.

Porter has proven to be a fine addition for the Nuggets, but Malone thinks the former McDonald’s All-American still has a lot of room to grow:

“He’s growing up in front of our eyes and he has so much room to grow, which is what really excites everybody in Nugget nation, is that Michael Porter has all the makings of a young star,” Malone said of Porter, via Mike Singer of the Denver Post.

In his 34 appearances with the Nuggets this season (one start), Porter has racked up averages of 7.2 points on 53.9 percent shooting from the field (40.6 percent from beyond the arc) and 3.7 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per outing. While he hasn’t gotten consistent minutes, he has shown plenty of flashes of brilliance.

The Nuggets have been hit with several injuries this season, but Porter is one of the main reasons the team is still fighting for the top spot in the Western Conference. Notably, he notched two double-doubles over his last three games. On Monday, his 20 points and 14 rebounds helped Denver take down the Timberwolves, 107-100.

Via ESPN:

“Just helping the team win, not going out there and thinking about me,” said Porter, who keyed a 19-5 spurt late in the second quarter with nine points and five rebounds after the Nuggets fell behind 46-36 for their largest deficit of the night.

Porter and the Nuggets will be back in action on Wednesday night, when they’ll take on the Houston Rockets. Tip-off inside the Toyota Center is set for 8:00 p.m. ET.