By ADAM ZAGORIA
For all the talk of Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III and Luka Doncic,
folks might be sleeping on Michael Porter Jr.
in this NBA Draft.
The 6-foot-10 Porter Jr. missed most of his only season at Missouri after having microdiscectomy surgery of the L3-L4 spinal discs in November, but he could turn out to be one of the best pros in this Draft.
Porter Jr. says he’ll be the best.
“I’m the best player in this draft,” he told reporters on Thursday.
Porter Jr. was a phenomenal scorer in high school, winning the prestigious Peach Jam title in the summer of 2016 with teammate Trae Young,
a fellow projected Top 10 pick.
He said he met at the Combine with 13 teams, including the Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers, who pick at Nos. 9 and 10 respectively in the June 21 Draft.
Porter Jr. is projected to go No. 8 to Cleveland, per ESPN.com
“It’d be awesome [to play for the Knicks],” he said, per the Daily News
. “I kind of asked them a couple questions: Where do you live in New York? Do you own a car?
“And they said a couple of guys live outside the city by the practice facility. So it was a great meeting.”
The Knicks are looking for a wing player and and also met with Villanova’s Mikal Bridges
and are slated to meet Friday with Michigan State Miles Bridges
, who said on ESPN he lost 20 pounds and can guard the 1-5.
During an interview in 2017
, Porter Jr. said he embraces comparisons to Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant.
“Yeah, I do, too,” he said of hearing the comparisons. “Recently, it’s been more like Tracy McGrady
back in the day. I’ve gotten that a lot. Paul George
sometimes. But KD’s always in there. Just the bigger wings. I like to say I have my own game, but yeah. Kind of like Brandon but more explosive, so it’s kind of like an in-between thing. I wouldn’t like to label myself as one player, like KD or like Tracy McGrady, but those are some comparisons.”
Brandon would be former Nathan Hale coach Brandon Roy
, the three-time NBA All-Star who last played in 2013 and coached Porter Jr. for his senior year.
“He’s by far better than I was, and in so many areas,” Roy said. “He shoots it like a pro already. He can handle it. His work ethic is ridiculous. I have to tell him sometimes, ‘Hey, Mike, resting is a skill, too. You gotta know when to go, when to save it.’ He’s lifting weights two days a week, he’s really regimented.”
He added: “I think he’s gonna be like an NBA superstar. I think he’s going to be the face of the NBA. I know it’s big shoes and it’s early, but I think he’s going to be like that Kevin Durant, that Steph Curry
, that James Harden.”
Meantime, Jontay Porter,
Michael’s younger brother, did not participate in the 5-on-5 on the advice of those close to him. Jontay has not hired an agent and has until May 30 to withdraw and return to school. He is projected as the No. 34 pick to Atlanta, per ESPN.
“We were advised not to have him do five-on-five,” Michael Porter Sr. told The Star.