The Dallas Mavericks are suffering through an awful season. Like, really bad. The worst since 98-99 when they won just 19 games, though, if we’re being fair, that was a lockout-shortened season with only 50 games. That comes out to a win percentage of of 38%. The team’s current win-percentage of 30.8% would be the worst of the Dirk Nowitzki era (98-Present) and the worst since the 97-98 season (29.3%). With that, Dallas’ odds for landing a top 5 pick, possibly even a top 3 pick, are exceedingly high. And with that comes plenty of deliberation with regard to which prospect to draft. Our Mavs guy, Enyi Nduka has been high on one particular prospect for awhile now -even with a back surgery under his belt and just last night being able to make his debut at Mizzou. That player is Michael Porter Jr., and more and more people are beginning to see him as an ideal fit for Dallas and a perfect running mate with rookie stud Dennis Smith Jr.
Michael Porter Jr. was an MVP of the McDonald’s All American game and actually attended a couple of top-tier prospect camps in the past with Dennis Smith Jr. before missing nearly his entire freshman season at Mizzou following back surgery. A 5-star recruit, Porter was supposed to lead the Tigers back to the tournament, though the timing of his return still holds that door open. In the season opener, Porter left after just a few minutes on the court and looked to be struggling with discomfort. After getting a couple of opinions, he was forced to undergo spinal surgery.
Porter’s return could not only lift Mizzou into the tournament but elevate his stock again somewhat simply by providing a couple flashes of his ability. Don’t think for a minute Porter is coming back to Mizzou next year. He’s already seen his stock plummet and his skill set, when healthy, is built for the NBA game. Many experts, prior to his injury, were saying his NBA comparison was Kevin Durant.
Fun fact: Dennis Smith Jr.’s NBA comparison prior to the 2017 draft was Russell Westbrook. Small world.
Porter is a huge risk, huge reward prospect but given the state of the Mavericks rebuild, I think he’s exactly what they need. They may well end up drafting another player, but Porter has something and even with the significant rust he showed in his return to action, he still showed glimpses of the player he can be. Chances are, it’ll take a full year from now before he begins to fully return to form from an athletic and explosive standpoint. But considering how far away Dallas feels right now, they can afford to wait. And, with their renowned training staff and facilities, the Mavs can continue to help him along in his recovery.
In today’s NBA, the Small Forward position is THE most vital position. Team’s are chomping at the bit to find a dynamic, game changer at that spot, and it’s no surprise that, aside from the Houston Rockets, every major contender in the NBA has that caliber of star at Small Forward. Harrison Barnes has been solid for the Mavs, playing both of the Forward positions at times. Whether or not he would move over to the 2 or 4 remains to be seen, but Michael Porter Jr and Dennis Smith Jr would form a young, ridiculously athletic tandem for the Mavericks for years to come. You want to attract young stars to sign with Dallas? Give them a young core on the rise and watch the line form to the left.