It was a little more than two years ago when 17-year-old Jontay Porter made his verbal commitment to Missouri, soon followed by his decision to enroll a year early and play alongside his brother for the Tigers. It’s been a star-crossed two years for the oldest Porter boys.
Michael played all of 53 minutes for Mizzou as a freshman because of a back injury then sank in last year’s NBA draft to No. 14 and sat out his entire rookie year with the Denver Nuggets while recovering from a second back surgery.
Jontay had a promising freshman season at Mizzou then, after exploring his draft stock last summer, missed all of his sophomore year with torn knee ligaments — only to shred his ACL again in March during a pickup game with his brother.
That didn’t stop the 6-foot-11 19-year-old from taking his chances in tonight’s NBA draft. He’s widely pegged as a second-round pick in the two-round draft, though the projections are all over the place.
Here’s a glance at where the updated mock drafts have Porter headed:
Sports Illustrated (Jeremy Woo): No. 33, Philadelphia 76ers
Comment: “The injury history with Porter will undoubtedly scare some teams off, but he would likely have been a first-rounder if he'd been able to put together a healthy season. He'll be a nice value play anywhere in the second round, and the Sixers can afford to let him get healthy, in hopes of him becoming a viable rotation big. His shooting ability and feel should appeal to them.”
The Ringer (Kevin O’Connor): No. 56, Los Angeles Clippers
Comments: "Excellent passer from all over the floor; he makes quick reads and delivers accurate passes. Could become one of the NBA’s better passing bigs."
"Fluid ball handler who uses crossovers, hesitations, and spin moves to attack the basket from the perimeter or high post."
"Subpar athlete who lacks quickness; an NBA strength and conditioning coach could help turn his youthful blubber into professional brawn."
"Poor rebounder for his position, though his basketball IQ suggests he can get better at boxing out."
"Struggles to score around the rim due to lack of pop; he misses an unusual amount of easy shots."
Bleacher Report (Jonathan Wasserman): No. 45, Detroit Pistons
Comment: “With multiple picks in each round, the Hawks could gamble on Porter, once thought of as a potential lottery pick before he went down with his second ACL tear in the same year. His shooting, passing and basketball IQ scream NBA fit in today's league.”
The Athletic (Sam Vecenie): No 49, San Antonio Spurs
Comment: “The Spurs were big fans of Porter last year, and still value big men at a level commensurate with taking two of them in the same draft. He’s suffered two straight ACL tears, but when he’s on the floor Porter displays a high level of IQ and terrific potential shot-making ability above the break. Much in the same way as Reid, his smooth shooting stroke has real potential to warp defenses, as does his passing ability. But to get a chance to do that, he has to get a clearance from NBA doctors and get back on the floor.”
NBADraft.net: No. 46, Orlando Magic
ESPN (Jonathan Givony): No. 48, Los Angeles Clippers
Here’s a look at Porter by the numbers …
4: If he’s taken tonight, Porter will be the fourth straight Missouri player drafted after playing just one season for the Tigers, following Alex Oriakhi (2013), Jordan Clarkson (2014) and Michael Porter Jr. (2018).
2: Porter can be just the second Mizzou 19-year-old selected in the draft, following his brother, who turned 20 eight days after the 2018 draft. Linas Kleiza (2005) and Keyon Dooling (2000) were the only 20-year-old Mizzou draft picks.
3: Porter can become the third Mizzou player 6-11 or taller taken in the draft, following 6-11 Steve Stipanovich (No. 2 in 1983) and 7-1 Gary Leonard (No. 34 in 1989).
36.4: Porter’s 3-point percentage as a freshman.
8.5: Porter’s body fat percentage at the NBA Combine, down from 13.9 last year.
7-0: Porter’s wingspan, which ranked just 28th at the Combine and behind some shorter perimeter players.
3.7: Porter’s assists per 40 minutes as a freshman.
2: Porter’s ranking in the SEC in defensive rating (93.5) as a freshman, behind only Texas A&M forward and Boston Celtics first-round pick Robert Williams.
25: Porter’s ranking in the 2017 recruiting class by Rivals.com. Other 25th-ranked recruits from previous classes include NBA first-round picks Luke Kennard (2014), Joel Embiid (2013), Gary Harris (2012) and Rajon Rondo (2004).