A recent back surgery has done little to dissuade Michael Porter’s belief in his standing with this years draft class. If anything, his setbacks seemed to have added to his determination to prove his critics wrong.
“I know without a doubt that I’m the best player in this draft,” Porter said. “And I just can’t wait to show what I’m capable of.”
Porter’s confidence makes sense. He was hailed as a can’t miss No.1 draft pick before setting foot on the University of Missouri’s campus. His numbers averaging 36.2 points and 13.6 rebounds per game in his senior year of high school certainly backed up those claims.
Little did anyone realize that Porter’s back began giving him problems the summer after his sophomore year. The pain he felt during the fall 2017 proved so unbearable that it couldn’t be ignored. Surgery was imminent.
So it was announced by Missouri officials that In November he would undergo a minimally invasive back procedure called a microdiscectomy. The surgery would sideline him for most of the season. Upon his return during the SEC championship game and the NCAA tournament Porter hardly looked like the same prospect.
Porter’s return raised more questions than anything about the possibility of him reaching his true potential.
He didn’t look awful in the two games he played in. But it was clear to anyone watching that Porter exhaustively labored through those games. You could see flashes of his consistent jump shot, aggressive rebounds, and alpha like presence. However the poor conditioning and lack of burst in his leaping proved that Porter was not operating at 100 percent.
Porter doesn’t look back with any regrets though.
“I was hoping to turn college basketball upside down just like a lot of these players,” Porter said. “Trae [Young], DeAndre [Ayton], Marvin [Bagley III], but this is just a step in my process to become the best player I can be. It’s a little different, but I’m more ready than ever. I’ve been dreaming about this NBA stuff for so long. I feel like I’m ready.”
Porter is back to working out without restrictions. And he seems anxious to reassert his standing among his peers.
The good news for Bulls fans is that Porter, through social media and interviews, has shown which team he prefers. The majority of his off-season and rehab was spent working out in the ‘Windy City’. And he stated on more than one occasion he’d be a great addition to the Bulls’ young nucleus of Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen.
For a team that is lacking a versatile, dynamic, scoring wing on its roster, one can only hope that the Bulls are listening.
Video by ballislife.com
Photos by onegreenplanet.org and sports.yahoo.com