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NBA executives: Top draft prospect Michael Porter Jr. should play again this season

Iowa St Missouri Basketball

Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr. warms up before the start of an NCAA college basketball game between Missouri and Iowa State Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

AP

Just as Stan Van Gundy was railing against the awful system for freshman-aged basketball players…

Missouri freshman Michael Porter Jr. suffered a major back injury in November, and it seemed likely the potential top-three pick would miss the entire season. But Porter has already been cleared to practice.

Jeff Goodman of ESPN:

More than 10 NBA general managers and high-ranking executives told ESPN they would advise Missouri freshman Michael Porter Jr., a projected lottery pick, to come back and play this season.

Easy for these executives to say. They’re anonymous and paid market rate.

Porter’s compensation is held artificially low by the NCAA cartel. Should he really risk his health before he’s allowed to cash in?

NBA executives want to evaluate draft prospects fully, and this is a way to pressure Porter toward granting more exposure. But time and time again, NBA teams choose the unknown over the known in the draft. They’re bothered by discovered flaws more than they’re excited by understood strengths.

If he comes back and struggles and/or gives teams access to his medical information and it raises red flags, Porter could fall significantly in the draft. But if he stays off the court and keeps his medical information to himself, I’d bet on him getting picked in the top half of the lottery.

Sure, he could move up by playing well – maybe all the way to the No. 1 pick. But given his compensation at Missouri, it just doesn’t seem to be worth the risk.