Grade The Trade: Michael Porter Jr. is sent East in this monster offseason proposal

Breaking down a moster trade proposal between the Denver Nuggets and Atlanta Hawks.
Atlanta Hawks v Denver Nuggets
Atlanta Hawks v Denver Nuggets / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages
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The Atlanta Hawks Perspective

Essentially what this trade does for the Hawks is it gives them a player with a bit more potential to be a top 3 option for them. All three players are really good, but I believe Porter Jr. has a higher potential to be a No. 3 option.

This season, Porter Jr. averaged 16.7 points and seven rebounds per game on 48.4% shooting from the field and 39.7% shooting from three. Dating back to the 2020/21 season, Porter Jr. is averaging 17.3 points and 6.6 rebounds on 49.7% shooting from the field and 40.9% shooting from three in 213 games.

Injuries were a major concern early in MPJ's career (back injuries were the whole reason he fell to pick No. 14 in the draft if you remember). He missed his entire rookie season and was limited to just nine games in 2021-22 due to another back injury. However, he played 81 games this past season and played 62 games in 2023. In general, hopefully, the injury issues are behind him.

MPJ has his limitations (he is not a great defender and only has a career average of 1.2 assists per game), but he's great at what he does (scoring, catch-and-shoot 3's, etc). He would be a legitimate No. 3 option for the Hawks as things currently stand (although any pending trade of Trae Young or Dejounte Murray or any other trades, in general, could change that).

Speaking of catch-and-shoot opportunities, MPJ shot 42.9% on catch-and-shoot three-pointers this past season and shot 43.8% on catch-and-shoot threes back in 2023 as well. While the exact looks he will get will look slightly different (playing alongside a playmaking guard in Trae Young and forward in Jalen Johson instead of a big in Jokic), he will still get a lot of those chances. He might also get to be more of a creator in Atlanta as well.

Porter Jr. also has shown the ability to be a strong scorer and can win you a game on a given night. This past season, he had four 30-point games, 13 games with 25 or more points, and 29 games with at least 20 points. However, consistency has been an issue for Porter Jr. however. One issue is that when his shot is not falling, he struggles to make an impact on the game.

MPJ also would fit in well with the Hawks timeline of Trae Young. He is a "win-now" type player but is also still just 25 years old (the same age as Young). There are also more connections between Porter Jr. and Young. Not only are they the same age and were in the same HS class and NBA draft class, but they also actually have played together in the past.

With both players being from the mid-west, they played on an AAU team together, Mokan Elite, throughout High School. Mokan Elite, led by Young and MPJ, won the 2016 EYBL Finals with the two players being named co-MVP's of the tournament.

Both players were also on the US youth national team that competed at the FIBA Americas U-18 Championships in 2016 in Chile and won the Gold medal in dominant fashion.

While the move would hurt the Hawks' depth (with them losing their 6th man and best piece off the bench in Bogi), it would give them a formidable and exciting forward duo of Porter Jr and Jalen Johnson. Add onto that if the Hawks select Alex Sarr in the draft, an MPJ-Jalen Johnson-Sarr frontcourt would have Hawks fans very excited.