Denver Nuggets young forward Michael Porter Jr. experienced a surprising fall during the 2018 NBA Draft where he slipped to #14 and the Nuggets, but he blames a doctor with the Los Angeles Clippers for the drastic drop.
The Clippers passed on Porter twice, as they held the 12th and 13th picks, trading the 12th pick for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and using the 13th pick on guard Jerome Robinson.
Porter had a microdiscectomy of his L3-L4 spinal disks in November 2017 and then a second spinal surgery in July 2018, and was limited to just three games during his only season at Missouri.
While he was passed over by the Clipper, Porter says he hasn’t thought of what it would be like to play for them, as his Nuggets prepare to play the Clippers in the next round of the playoffs.
“No, their doctor was the one that wrote the report on me,” Porter said, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “I think he wrote some stuff like he thought that I would never play basketball again so I didn’t think they’d pick me.”
“But, I mean, it’s going to be fun to play against them, for sure,” Porter said.
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said it was a “brutal” process to pass on Porter, adding that there was a high level of concern about Porter’s back.
“It was brutal for us,” Rivers said when asked how difficult it was to assess Porter on their draft board due to his back injury. “We had on our board, just the medical report, the red flag was so hot.”
“We got the one guy we wanted in [Gilgeous-Alexander],” Rivers added. “And the second pick, when he was on the board, it was a brutal pass because everyone in the room knew his talent but it was more the injury concern. That was the only other concern.”
Porter sat out the 2018-2019 season and played sparingly this season before the shutdown in March. However, during the NBA restart in the bubble, Porter became a big part of the offense and was productive, pouring in 22.0 points, 8.6 rebounds and shooting 55.1% from the field to earn a spot on the second-team All-Seeding Games team.
Porter averaged 12.0 points and 7.0 rebounds a game during the Nuggets first round series against the Utah Jazz and is now set on playing a big role as his Nuggets take on the Clippers.