Harrison Wind of Denver Sports caught up with the Nuggets rookie and asked him to give his thoughts on Barkley's comments. Though he appreciated Barkley's praises, MPJ acknowledged that he still has a long way to go to surpass the other guys on his team.
MPJ on Barkley saying he could be Denver's 2nd-best player by season's end: "We've got a lot of good players on this team. I've got a long way to go before I'm second up. We've got Jamal, Will, Gary. I'm not even starting. I appreciate the praise but I've got a long way to go."
— Harrison Wind (@HarrisonWind) January 18, 2020
That's great humility and maturity coming from the 21-year old.
Barkley sang his praises toward Porter Jr., who red-shirted his supposed rookie campaign last season due to a back injury, after his huge outing against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday. The Nuggets missed three starters that night and Porter Jr. stepped up big time for them in their 134-131 come from behind victory with 18 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and two steals.
Nuggets head coach Michael Malone initially didn't have Porter Jr. in his rotation at the start of the season. But over the past couple of months, Malone is slowly starting to integrate the rookie, though the minutes were still inconsistent.
Malone went on record saying that the 6-foot-10 forward is a huge part of their future and will now be a key cog in the rotation for the rest of the season. Now, with Denver's current second-best player Jamal Murray out for the foreseeable future with an ankle sprain, this could be the Nuggets' best time to fully unleash Porter Jr.
Porter Jr. certainly has tons of upside due to his innate ability to put up points on the board. In fact, he initially came out of college as a top-five prospect. Unfortunately, the back issues made him slide to the middle rounds of the 2018 draft, where the Nuggets may have found themselves a potential gem.