According to Mike Singer of the Denver Post, Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone has just confirmed that rising star, Michael Porter, Jr. or MPJ has tested positive for COVID-19. The young forward missed 3 games from January 1 to 6 due to the NBA’s contact tracing policy. He went on to miss another 4 outings for quarantine purposes from January 7 to 12.
Michael Malone confirmed what was widely suspected.
Michael Porter Jr.’s been out with COVID.
— Mike Singer (@msinger) January 13, 2021
Initially, last January 7, Porter was looking at a 10 to 14 day absence before being able to suit up again. However, the confirmation of his positive result will most likely push back his return. The Nuggets are sitting at a 5-6 record in the loaded Western Conference. At 11th place, the team needs all the help it could get in what is sure to be a topsy-turvy season.
Porter showed remarkable growth and improvement in all facets of his game. In the four games he has played this season for Denver, he has averaged 19.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.0 steal and 1.5 blocks a game. This is a far cry from last year wherein he had averages of 9.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.5 steal and 0.5 block per game.
This season’s numbers are a small sample size, but MPJ has never been one to lack in potential. In the stacked 2018 NBA draft with Luka Dončić and Trae Young, some scouts had him pegged as a top 5 prospect. Unfortunately, his college season was cut short, because of a back injury. This led to him falling to the Nuggets with the 14th pick.
Although Nuggets center Nikola Jokić has been putting up ridiculous MVP-caliber numbers, MPJ is a key cog in Denver’s chase for a championship. As long as he stays healthy, Porter’s scoring, versatility and defense can be a gamechanger in the Western Conference.