The Denver Nuggets are coming off of a season in which they missed the playoffs by just a game, losing essentially a play-in game for the final playoff spot to the Timberwolves in their final game. This young team finished with their best record since losing Andre Iguadala to the Warriors following the 2012-13 season. With Will Barton being the only core player with an expiring contract, they will have a chance to make another run at the playoffs this upcoming season. However, the Nuggets have already added a player that could be the one to transform them into a championship caliber team: Michael Porter Jr.
Michael Porter Jr. was the number one ranked prospect coming out of high school by Rivals, and was poised for a great year until he suffered an injury early in the season. Though he only played three games (with only one start), his high school career was promising enough for him to be the 14thoverall pick by the Nuggets. This is a large slide as he was the number one pick on a lot of big boards before the college basketball season began. Despite the slide, MPJ could still turn into a superstar, and propel the Nuggets moving forward.
While most superstars in modern NBA history have been chosen early on in the draft, there are still many that have been taken late in the lottery, or even in the second round. Kawhi Leonard (15thPick), Giannis Antetokounmpo (15thPick), Draymond Green (35thPick), and Isiah Thomas (60thPick), are just some of the superstars in the NBA that were skipped over on their draft night. Not to forget Kobe Bryant (13thPick), and Steve Nash (15thPick) who both went on to become MVP’s in their careers. Michael Porter Jr., while he hasn’t played an NBA game yet, his high school career was promising enough to entertain the idea that he one day could join the list of players that teams will be kicking themselves that they passed up on him.
With former All-Star Paul Millsap, future All-Star Nikola Jokic, and a blossoming backcourt of Jamal Murray and Gary Harris; the Nuggets are already poised to make a playoff run in the next few years. If MPJ is able to reach his full potential and become a superstar, this Nuggets team could potentially bring home their first championship within the next five years.