Michael Porter Jr. on his medical report “The Clippers doctor told the group ‘Yeah, that guy will never play again. “” – Basketball Network

Once upon a time, Michael Porter Jr. was the best player in high school and a first pick in the NBA draft. At 6’10, with the ability to shoot from anywhere on the court coupled with pro-level athleticism, many teams had their eyes and ears open for Porter’s eventual declaration to join the draft. However, back injuries led to two surgeries and derailed his meteoric rise to basketball stardom, with a doctor telling him and several other teams assessing him that the young star would never play again.

“The Clippers doctor was examining me and said to the group, ‘Yeah, this guy will never play again.'”

Michael Porter Jr., “> The Old Man and the Three

MPJ joined JJ Redick’s The Old Man and the Three podcast and shared his arduous journey to the draft. Due to his back issues, Michael was unable to do the private workouts that prospects normally do, and this was due to the need to maintain his health and manage his rehabilitation process after the transaction. Instead, Porter Jr. hosted a “pro day,” which is essentially a practice session hosted by his own people, allowing scouts to come by and evaluate Michael once before draft night.

“The first day pro went really well, I asked Sacramento to pull me aside and told me they were going to take me at number two.”

Michael Porter Jr., “> The Old Man and the Three

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John Hollinger called his medical report the worst he had ever seen in his career. Porter underwent back surgery called an L3-L4 microdiscectomy to treat a herniated disc in his back. If you’re wondering how bad it was, here’s a doctor explaining the issues Porter Jr. faced (as a teenager.)

“An analogy we use a lot is when you poke a hole in a jelly donut. When you squeeze the jelly is going to come out. If you don’t poke a hole, it’s going to be contained. Genetics plays a small role, but with over time, everyone’s discs deflate like a tire that wears out In some athletes, if stress is transferred to one area…it’s a repetitive stress injury Over and over again, jumping to catch rebounds, you feel stress in one area.Then you get these micro tears and the nucleus pulposus (jelly) comes out.

Dr. Charla Fischer, SB Nation

Sacramento ended up taking Marvin Bagley Jr. with the second pick in 2018, and while he’s become a good player for the Kings, MPJ is much closer to superstar status than Bagley. Would the Kings have benefited more from selecting Porter Jr. second? Probably, but in a draft that’s now three years old, it looks like a class overhaul has MPJ ending up in Sac-town.

Luka Dončić would go first in a redesign of the 2018 class, followed by Trae Young or DeAndre Ayton. I think Luka is still on another level compared to Young and Ayton, and in the long run, Dončić is going to grow exponentially compared to the other two. Then you have a traffic jam in positions 4-7 of the leaderboard between MPJ, Mikal Bridges, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Porter Jr. is a big talent with a lot of upside, but we’ve seen the others on the list perform on bigger stages or in much bigger roles for their teams over the past three seasons.

It’s hard to imagine a scenario where MPJ would be among the top three players in the 2018 NBA Draft, even if we were to do a redraft. The top three on the list above have just accomplished so much more while proving they can be consistent in the league in expanded roles. This is the next step for MPJ, learning to become a more consistent scorer and defender for the Nuggets while setting the stage for eventual stardom with another team later in his career.

His injury caused his draft stock to plummet, but he found himself exactly where he needed to be in hindsight. Because much like his rehabilitation process following back surgery, he had to take his rise in the league at a much slower pace than his counterparts. Ultimately, MPJ may still be one of the best players in this league, but there’s no way Sacramento drafted him at number two.