Hawks Should Stay Away from Michael Porter Jr. In Draft

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 16: Michael Porter Jr.
NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 16: Michael Porter Jr. /

For the Atlanta Hawks, the 2018 NBA Draft could be a source of much joy or much consternation, depending on who the team selects in the lottery. We have already outlined where the Hawks might select, and our most recent mock draft outlines who the team might select.

According to most pundits, there is a clear top tier featuring DeAndre Ayton and Luka Doncic and then after that, there are 5 to 6 players who make up the next tier. Beyond that it’s a crap shoot (as the NBA draft generally is), but those top players are expected to immediately contribute – and they project out to be part of the next crop of great players in the league.

However, there is one player who the Hawks should avoid at all costs and who comes into the draft with a lot of injury baggage around his neck. Even beyond that, there are questions about his role in the NBA on a good team. I’m speaking, of course, of Michael Porter Jr. out of Missouri.

Sure, Trae Young and Marvin Bagley III might come into the draft with questions about their defensive acumen, but neither of them had a huge injury derail their lone season in NCAA basketball. Porter did.

Beyond the injury concerns, which are very real, Porter might be something of a throwback player, in that he is a shoot-first, ask-questions-second kind of two guard – the kind that ruled the NBA for decades. The much more pejorative way of referring to him would be a “chucker,” someone who gets up shots (often making them) with relative ease and little consciousness of what the rest of the team is getting up to.

Though a small sample size, Porter Jr. only logged one assist upon returning from that back injury and he also wasn’t holding up his side of the bargain, as he only shot 9 of 29 from the field.

Going further back, Porter Jr. only notched one assist through three games at Adidas Nations last summer (in 60 minutes of action).

Will Porter Jr.’s patented scoring ability return in the NBA? Even if it does, are the Hawks willing to risk a top 5 pick on that chance?

There are far better options in the top 7-8 of this draft than a player who mostly looks for his own shot first, and rarely looks to involve teammates. The Hawks already have a player like that in Dennis Schröder, and look how well it served them this year: a 24-58 record.

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Atlanta would do better to pass on Porter and take Marvin Bagley III, Jaren Jackson Jr. or even reach for Mikal Bridges or Wendell Carter Jr. with a top 5 than take Porter.