ESPN Draft Insider on Michael Porter Jr: “He really scares me…”

Formerly of DraftExpress, draft guru Mike Schmitz went on the popular Dunc’d On podcast to talk about some of the most polarizing prospects. While talking to rising podcast host Nate Duncan, Schmitz had this to say about the ever so controversial Michael Porter Jr:

He really scares me, and it’s not just as much about the injury for me…I thought he was obviously really talented and had a great showing at the Hoop Summit, but I still worry about his toughness, is willingness to coexist with other guys on the floor.

Woah. This is coming from a dude who makes a living off of analyzing basketball prospects. Let me rephrase: if this dude isn’t good at his job, then he doesn’t, you know, live. One more time for my people in the back: He gets to do my dream job because he really freakin’ knows the game. Now he’s saying this about a project top-5 pick?

Schmitz didn’t stop here, however:

He plays a game really upright, he kind of has an upright, hunched style of play to him, which leads itself to a lot of long, contested jumpers. To me, when you combine that with the injury stuff, he’s one of the more scary guys in that top-8 range.

Nate Duncan (keenly) pressed Schmitz for some more of that precious inside scoop. Duncan asked Schmitz if he could expand upon MPJ’s interview process, as well as his time at Mizzou, as he has been rumored to not be the best of teammates. Schmitz continued:

“The intel from his time at Missouri was very very poor. I think he has a lot of questions to answer about how is he gonna fit in an NBA locker room, and if he’s not the number one option, how’s that going to go for him, how is he gonna handle adversity, I think he is just a little bit incubated in some ways.”

So would Schmitz take him with a top five pick? I’m glad you asked. Schmitz relayed his thoughts:

There are teams outside of that top five…that are like man, I hope we don’t have to make a decision on this guy.

Sheesh. That’s a tough review from a guy who knows his stuff. Full disclosure, in my own personal big board, I have MPJ as a late lottery talent. Perhaps from watching plays like this:

Michael Porter IQ.gif

Remember that thing you just read that said Michael Porter Jr. may not know how to coexist with other guys on the floor? Well isn’t it convenient that I have a gif showing MPJ posting up a dude…when his own teammate is posting up a dude right next to him!?

Duncan and Schmitz went on to discuss how some view MPJ as a guy who wants to get his 20 points a game and let the rest fall where it may. It has been alleged that the guy is out to get his, and stays in his own little world. The gif above shows why some may think that.

Schmitz also threw some praise towards MPJ, touting his physical gifts and ability to shoot. He also said that Porter Jr is still very young and people change over time. Therefore, we shouldn’t count out Porter Jr just yet. In fact, let’s hold back our judgement for a while. After all, who doesn’t want to see someone get paid to do what they love?

For now, however, feel free to be a little skeptical about his chances of living up to the draft hype. For what it’s worth, we currently have MPJ going 6th to Orlando in our Mock Draft. With both the Grizzlies and Kings interested in Porter Jr, who knows what will happen on Draft Night. But until then, speculate away, my friends.