Michael Porter Jr. Says His Game Is Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant Mix

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 19, 2018

Missouri's Michael Porter Jr. is seen during the second half in an NCAA college basketball game against Georgia at the Southeastern Conference tournament Thursday, March 8, 2018, in St. Louis. Georgia won 62-60. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

NBA prospect Michael Porter Jr. certainly doesn't lack for confidence.

In an interview with Damon Amendolara of CBS Sports Radio, he compared his game to that of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant and Tracy McGrady:

Damon Amendolara @DAonCBS

Here’s what Michael Porter Jr. told me about how he views himself in the NBA (@MPJr): https://t.co/Qvh39yDsbz

If Porter ends up being an accurate comparison to any of those three players, he'll make an NBA organization very, very happy.

Where he is drafted, however, is another story altogether. Coming into the 2017-18 season he was a candidate to be the top overall pick and was considered one of the best prospects in the sport. But a back injury limited him to three contests for Missouri, leaving his draft stock in flux.

Porter could potentially go as high as No. 2, or he could go closer to No. 10. No player has a more unpredictable range of possibilities come draft night.

As for Porter's assessment of his game, how do they measure up to what draft experts say?

B/R's Jonathan Wasserman has called him a "pro-level scorer who's shown he can take over games," though he added that his "handle only allows him to attack in straight lines" and that he "isn't particularly creative with his dribble. That means his primary means for creating his own shot "is often just rising and firing over his man—because he can at his height—even if he's off-balance."

Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer, meanwhile, said Porter's game has shades of an athletic Keith Van Horn, Otto Porter Jr. and Harrison Barnes.

Jeremy Woo of SI.com also made the Barnes comparison, though he added: "Porter's well-rounded offensive game makes him the kind of player most any team could find a way to use. If he can get back to full strength and tap into his full potential, this comparison will look underwhelming."

Players like Van Horn and Barnes are decidedly a few tiers down from Durant, Antetokounmpo and McGrady. The latter players also didn't enter the NBA with the medical concerns that hover over Porter's future.

As Sam Amick of USA Today wrote: "Porter Jr. is two things that aren't so easily reconciled—a talent so tantalizing that you could see him giving a Hall of Fame speech someday, and a 19-year-old whose back problems might wind up short-circuiting his budding career."

For NBA teams, the cost-benefit analysis will likely come down to whether they think Porter is a potential superstar talent with tinges of Durant and the Greek Freak, or a very good future player closer to the mold of Barnes.

Teams that see the former will likely look past the injury concerns. Doing so worked out for the Philadelphia 76ers after they drafted Joel Embiid. Teams who don't believe Porter has the upside of a truly elite player, however, likely won't be so quick to dismiss his medical history.


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