Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. enjoys running offensive plays with his team, but the 24-year-old also feels other aspects of the game are just as important down the stretch.
“Offense for me should be on autopilot,” explained Porter Jr. “I should be focused on the intangibles, the defense, the rebounding, the dirty work.”
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“Then that just involves you in the game,” continued the Nuggets wing. “If you’re struggling on offense and you’re also not rebounding or playing defense, then it’s like, why is he out there right now?”
Last September, the Missouri product signed a five-year, $179.29 million contract with Denver. A total of $17 million is guaranteed if he earns an All-Star selection between 2021-22 through the 2025-26 seasons.
Of course, his deal is fully guaranteed based on other incentives as well. If the forward wins MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, or receives an All-NBA selection, the money is all his.
Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. wants to focus on defense, rebounding, and the intangibles, not just offense
However, Nuggets coach Michael Malone is not forced to play Porter Jr. during the closing minutes of any game. Sunday was different. Without Nikola Jokic and Aaron Gordon, the team needed all hands on deck.
In the Nuggets’ 98-97 win over the Dallas Mavericks, Malone’s decision to leave the forward in paid off. After five missed shots from downtown, he finally came through during crunch time.
With 55 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Porter Jr. sank the game-winning 3-pointer. Bones Hyland scored a career-high 29 points, and Porter Jr. finished with 14 points in 31 minutes of action.
“I seen [Michael Porter Jr.]. I know they was trying to shrink the floor on me,” said Hyland after the win. “They just left MP. I’m like, ‘Man, they trippin’.’”
While Porter Jr. is making an impact offensively, the Nuggets forward is still searching for more consistency on defense. Through 15 starts this season, MPJ is averaging 0.7 steals and 0.3 blocks per game.
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