Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr. – maybe the top contender to supplant European guard Luka Doncic as the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA draft – had his campaign undercut after it barely began.
Michael Porter, Jr. will undergo surgery on Tuesday, Nov. 21, in Dallas, Texas. The procedure, a microdiscectomy of the L3 and L4 spinal discs, has a projected recovery time of three-four months and will likely cause him to miss the remainder of the season. Michael is expected to make a complete recovery
With that timeline, it’s possible Porter returns late in Missouri’s NBA season. But as an elite draft prospect stuck in a cartel system that caps his compensation well below market value, he should probably be cautious.
Porter will likely still go high in the draft – if his medicals check out. This is is a serious injury, and teams will be wary of long-term effects.
But he’s a top talent, and the forward shouldn’t slip far. In fact, in a strange way, this injury could even help him. There were questions about Porter’s ability to handle physicality and tight spaces when the game slows down, challenges he would have met frequently in college basketball. Now, scouts can’t pick apart those aspects of his game. Logically or not, NBA teams tend to favor the unknown in the draft, and Porter is on his way to being one of the biggest mysteries near the top of the 2018 draft.
Kevin Love is the man in Cleveland now, with LeBron James having gone to Hollywood.
But it’s not going to be the same, and Love knows it. The best player of his generation is gone, and Love had nothing but praise for LeBron and his willingness to take on a challenge in a sit-down interview with ESPN.
Love is right, LeBron loves a challenge, but the one with the Lakers is unlike anything else in his career. Expectations are through the roof for a team that has undergone a roster upheaval, and while those kinds of teams can take a little bit to come together, if that happens and the Lakers get off to a slow start in the West it will be a lot harder to dig out of it than it was after the Cavs’ annual mid-season slump in the East. LeBron is on a team with young players and a lot of stop-gap one-year contracts set up to help them get another star (at the trade deadline or next summer). That makes they dynamics of this season different for LeBron (although he would never admit to it, saying winning was the goal from the start).
Love has got his own challenges. He may not be able to lead the Cavaliers to the playoffs this season. However, he could be a sneaky good fantasy pickup now that he’s going to get a lot more touches.
Timberwolves general manager David Kahn infamously drafted two point guards – Ricky Rubio No. 5 and Jonny Flynn No. 6 – before the Warriors took Stephen Curry No. 7 in the 2009 draft.
Curry, as transcribed by Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area:
“My guy David Kahn. I don’t know where he’s at right now,” Curry said on The Bill Simmons Podcast. “I don’t know if that ever came out — there’s a story. Everybody knows how much I love golf — play it in my spare time and what not.
“I think the word on the street was that he didn’t draft me because in Minnesota it’s cold and I wouldn’t be able to play as much golf so I would have been miserable.”
A shocked Simmons asked Curry: “Is that true?”
“I hope it’s true because that’s hilarious (laughter),” Curry said. “That’s hilarious.”
If this is why Minnesota passed on Curry, it was a huge mistake. Better to take the best prospect available and hope for the best. Curry probably would have learned to appreciate Minnesota. There’s plenty of room to golf elsewhere in the offseason. Remember, Golden State was seen as a low-rung destination just a few years ago. Curry helped transform the franchise’s perception.
Mostly, though, I’m with Curry. This would be a hilarious story if true.
But that doesn’t mean we should just assume it’s accurate. Plenty of teams underestimated Curry, who looked like an undersized score-first guard when he entered the NBA. He just beat the odds and made everyone who passed on him look silly.
The next three NBA All-Star hosts are set:
- 2019: Charlotte Hornets
- 2020: Chicago Bulls
- 2021: Indiana Pacers
Beyond that? The Orlando Magic want an All-Star game, but they apparently struck out with upcoming selections.
Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:
Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins said Sunday the Magic put in a bid to host the 2023 All-Star Weekend and have been informed by league officials that another location will be selected for that year.
The league asked for bids for the 2022 and 2023 All-Star Weekends, but Martins said the Magic couldn’t bid for the 2022 game because a major convention will be held in Orlando that same weekend, leaving the city with too few hotel rooms to also host All-Star Weekend.
Orlando hosted All-Star games in 2012 and 1992. I bet one will return there soon enough. It’s a warm-weather city with the infrastructure to host.
It just won’t be within the next half decade.
The Clippers will probably miss the playoffs in a loaded Western Conference. But they’re also even further from landing a high draft pick. They’re in that middling position some teams find perilous.
But not Clippers owner Steve Ballmer.
Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times:
Ballmer also vowed that the Clippers won’t tank to get a better draft pick. “That ain’t us. Nuh-uh, no way,” he said. “People can do it their way. We’re going to be good our way. We’re not going to show up and suck for a year, two years. I think we got higher expectations on us than the long, hard five, six years of absolute crap like the 76ers put in. How could we look you guys in the eye if we did that to you?”
The 76ers missed the playoffs five straight seasons, but they emerged from that self-inflicted drought with two franchise cornerstones – Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons – and multiple other helpful pieces. The Process worked as intended.
But this is also why the NBA needn’t freak out about other teams replicating Sam Hinkie’s plan. Few have the stomach for it.
Ballmer doesn’t. The Clippers are trying to attract free agents. The better they are in the interim, the more credibility they’ll build.