NBA: Reacting to ESPN’s ‘Top 25 players under 25’ list

Utah Jazz Donovan Mitchell (Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz Donovan Mitchell (Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Denver Nuggets
Denver Nuggets Michael Porter Jr. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) /

NBA players over-ranked by ESPN

Michael Porter Jr. (#14)

Since the middle of February or so, Michael Porter Jr. has looked like a bigger Klay Thompson – splashing highly-contested 3’s and getting easy layups in the flow of the offense. He’s even made some steps on the defensive end, especially as a weak-side rim protector.

I still would consider Porter as more of a complementary piece than a building block. First off, he’s found himself in a highly unique situation orbiting a basketball genius in Nikola Jokic. Porter’s made the most of these chances to be sure, but I haven’t seen much other than contested pull-up jumpers when he’s actually tasked to create on his own (not to mention play-make for others). Defense and injury concerns still loom.

It’s possible that I’m shortchanging Michael Porter’s potential, given his pedigree and (relative) lack of high-level experience, at least recently. He’s also been blistering even without Jokic (130 points in 169 non-Jokic minutes on a preposterous 72.2% true shooting).