‣ Michael Porter Jr. has found new ways to contribute when his jumper isn’t falling
‣ Porter Jr. has become a key to the Nuggets’ defense, especially in pick-and-roll situations
‣ Porter Jr.’s defensive rotations and rebounding were crucial in the season-opening win over the L.A. Lakers
In my eyes, this was the most impressive sequence of the night from MPJ.
Coordinates w/KCP to deny the initial action, shows slight help against AD to deter the drive, high-hand closeout that overwhelms Prince + fights over the screen to force an errant pass. Important stuff.
— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf)
Michael Porter Jr. may be known for his impeccable shooting skills, but he has proven that he can contribute in other ways when his jumper isn’t falling. In the Denver Nuggets‘ season-opening win over the L.A. Lakers, Porter Jr. showcased his improved feel on defense. Despite struggling with his shooting, Porter Jr. remained crucial to the Nuggets’ championship pursuits, earning significant minutes from head coach Michael Malone.
While Porter Jr.’s efficient scoring is his primary strength, his defensive abilities cannot be overlooked. Standing at 6’10” and with multiple back surgeries behind him, it’s expected that he may have some difficulty defending in space and navigating around screens. However, his backline rotations in pick-and-roll situations have become crucial for the nuggets. Against the Lakers, Porter Jr. played a key role in limiting Anthony Davis’ scoring opportunities, making it difficult for him to convert lobs, wraparounds, or drop-downs.
Despite being targeted by the Lakers’ offense, Porter Jr. has shown significant development in his defensive capabilities. He uses his size and quick feet to bother smaller opponents, proving that he is better equipped to handle challenging matchups now than he was in previous years. This improvement widens his margin for error and elevates the Nuggets’ defensive potential.
One of the standout moments from Porter Jr. in the game against the Lakers was a sequence where he played a pivotal role in forcing a shot clock violation. His ability to disrupt the Lakers’ intentions and prevent them from executing their plays showcased his attention to detail and willingness to do the “grunge work” that often goes unnoticed.
While Porter Jr. may be experiencing a shooting slump at the moment, there’s no doubt that he will soon rediscover his formidable shooting stroke. In the meantime, he continues to contribute in other areas of the game, proving just how far he has come in his career. The Nuggets will undoubtedly benefit from his versatility and all-around skills as they continue their pursuit of success in the NBA.