Michael Porter Jr. on his medical report “The Clippers’ doctor told the group, ‘Yeah, this guy’s never gonna play again.'”

Once upon a time, Michael Porter Jr. was the top player in high school and a first-choice in the planned NBA Overall Draft. At 6’10, with the ability to shoot from anywhere on the pitch, 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 resulted in 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 never plays 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 leading up to the draft. Due to his back problems, Michael was unable to do the private workouts that prospects normally do, and it was because of the need to preserve his health and manage his rehabilitation process after surgery. . Instead, Porter Jr. hosted a “pro day,” which is essentially a training session hosted by his own people, allowing the scouts to go and assess Michael once before draft night.

“The first day on the job went really well, I asked Sacramento to pull me aside and tell me they were going to pick me up at number two.”

Michael Porter Jr., The old man and the three

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

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

Dr Charla Fischer, SB Country

Sacramento ended up taking on Marvin Bagley Jr. with the runner-up in 2018, and although he’s become a good player for The Kings, MPJ is much closer to achieving superstar status than Bagley. Would the Kings have benefited more by 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 be first in a 2018 class redesign, followed by Trae Young or DeAndre Ayton. I think Luka is yet 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 log jam at positions 4-7 of the leaderboard between MPJ, Mikal Bridges, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Porter Jr. is a huge talent with a lot of perks, but we’ve seen the others on the roster perform on bigger stages or much bigger roles for their teams over the past three seasons.

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

His injury caused his stock of traction to drop, but he ended up exactly where he needed to be in hindsight. Because, just like his rehabilitation process after back surgery, he had to take his rise in the league at a much slower pace than his counterparts. Ultimately, MPJ may still be a top player in this league, but there’s no way Sacramento drafted him second.


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