Otto Porter Jr.

NBA draft profile: Missouri F Michael Porter Jr.

NBA draft profile: Missouri F Michael Porter Jr.

Michael Porter Jr.

Position: Forward 

Height: 6-10

Weight: 211

School: Missouri

The last couple of years have been a bit of a whirlwind for Porter. 

After starring in high school in his hometown of Columbia, Missouri, Porter transferred to Nathan Hale High School in Seattle to play his senior season under former NBA star Brandon Roy. Porter’s father, Michael Sr., was then hired as an assistant at the University of Washington, which led the son to commit to the school.

The plan seemed like it was all coming together … until it wasn’t. Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar was fired, which caused Porter Sr. to jump ship and take a job as an assistant at the University of Missouri where another son, Jontay Porter, was committed.

Following much thought, Michael Porter Jr. joined the rest of his family at Missouri. However, the good vibes didn’t last long.

Just two minutes into his collegiate debut, Porter suffered a back injury. He later had a microdiscectomy to repair his back and was able to return for only a pair of contests in the SEC and NCAA Tournaments.

In all, the consensus No. 1 overall prospect coming into the year was limited to just three games and 53 minutes during his lone disappointing season in college.

Strengths
The first thing you notice about Porter is his size. At 6-10 and patrolling the wing, he presents a massive matchup nightmare for most opponents.

That’s mainly because Porter can fill it up. He’s very smooth and polished on the offensive end, which was displayed when he averaged 36.2 points per game as a senior in high school.

Also, when you were once viewed as the No. 1 overall prospect in your class, you bring elite-level confidence to the court. “I know without a doubt that I'm the — I played against all these guys, they're all great players — but I'm the best player in this draft," Porter said at the NBA draft combine earlier this month.

Weaknesses
At this point, the top issue regarding Porter is his health. It’s not often you see 19-year-olds undergo spinal surgery.

As far as on the court, Porter can stand to put some weight on his slender frame, improve his defensive technique and he tends to rely on his jump shot too much at times.

NBA comparison
It’s far too easy to see the size and skill set of Porter and link him to Kevin Durant. But that’s not at all a comparison I’m prepared to make.

We’ll go with another Porter, as in Washington Wizards swingman Otto Porter Jr. Both are lanky wings that prefer to pull up over their opponents with range that extends to the three-point arc.

How he'd fit with Sixers
For a team that couldn’t consistently get outside shooting and was victimized by the Boston Celtics’ length in the Eastern Conference semis, Porter would appear to fit like a glove. He would easily be able to spot up for jumpers in the Sixers’ pace-and-space offense and add another long body for foes to work around on the other end.

Draft projection
Porter’s lost season in college makes his exact draft spot a bit of a question mark. He has all of the talent to go at the top, but should fall somewhere in the mid-lottery.

NBA Notes: Jamal Crawford chooses Timberwolves over Warriors, Cavaliers

NBA Notes: Jamal Crawford chooses Timberwolves over Warriors, Cavaliers

MINNEAPOLIS -- At 37 years old and having never played in the NBA Finals, Jamal Crawford certainly could have gone ring chasing when he received a buyout from the Atlanta Hawks.

The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, who have met in the last three finals, were both interested in the veteran scorer. LeBron James was calling Crawford personally to recruit him to Cleveland.

So naturally, Crawford chose ... the Minnesota Timberwolves?

The Wolves have missed the playoffs for 13 straight seasons. But after Minnesota added Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson and Jeff Teague this summer, Crawford decided to join Tom Thibodeau's team in hopes of being an integral part of a team trying to break through as opposed to the latest hired gun on an established contender.

"I want to experience it with these guys and go through the wars and the struggles and just really embrace the journey with these guys," Crawford said Wednesday. "To me, that can be even more gratifying than just going to a team that's already made and ready to win a championship. Hopefully, we'll get there, but we'll all go through it together" (see full story).

Spurs: Ginobili indicates he’ll return for 16th season
SAN ANTONIO -- As the clock ticked down on the Spurs' season and Manu Ginobili was pulled from the game, a thunderous roar from the home crowd guided him to the bench.

Ginobili wore an appreciative but quizzical look on his face as he put a warmup shirt back on and prepared to head off into the summer. Clearly, the fans were saying goodbye to one of the most popular players in Spurs history.

Ginobili was not ready to do the same: The Argentinian posted a message on his Twitter account on Wednesday that he is re-signing with San Antonio for another season, which will be his 16th with the Spurs.

"It felt like they wanted me to retire," Ginobili said with a smile after the Spurs were swept out of the Western Conference finals by the Golden State Warriors. "Like they were giving me sort of a celebration night. And of course, I'm getting closer and closer."

Save those goodbyes for at least another year (see full story).

Clippers: Griffin calls decision to stay a ’no-brainer’ 
LOS ANGELES -- Blake Griffin was back in his usual place, front and center on a Clippers stage.

After opting out of his contract, Griffin didn't spend the offseason toiling over whether to sign with another team -- like his teammate DeAndre Jordan famously did. For Griffin, it was an easy decision to sign a max five-year deal to stay with the only NBA team he's played for in his seven-year career.

"I want to say how excited I am to be back. This has been my home since I was drafted. A lot went into this decision," Griffin said Wednesday. "In the end, I realized this was a no-brainer for me. This is the place where I want to start and finish my career. . This next chapter and next season for the Clippers and myself, I've never been more excited about an opportunity."

Griffin, 28, is undoubtedly the star of the Clippers with Chris Paul gone in the trade with the Rockets that sent Pat Beverley to Los Angeles.

Griffin said he and Paul talked about his decision to want to leave the Clippers.

"No hard feelings," said Griffin, a five-time All-Star. "I think we're all professional enough to know and we've all been in the situation now to know sometimes you have to do what's right and what's best for yourself and your family. I've never had hard feelings with any of my teammates who decided to leave or felt like it was best to leave. I wouldn't start now" (see full story).

Wizards: With Porter deal done, team keeps core intact
WASHINGTON -- Otto Porter is a quiet, complementary piece to the Wizards' talented young core. He is also now Washington's highest-paid player.

At least temporarily.

Guards John Wall and Bradley Beal garner most of the attention as Washington has made it to the second round of the NBA playoffs three of the last four seasons. But for now, Porter makes the most money after the Wizards matched a four-year, $106.5 million max-contract offer sheet the forward signed with the Brooklyn Nets.

There might be questions if the 24-year-old Porter is worth that money. But the Wizards believe he is a good fit alongside Wall, 26, a four-time All-Star, and Beal, 24, one of the league's top shooting guards.

"You just use that as motivation just like John and Brad did," Porter said at a news conference Wednesday. "They set the bar high. I'm going to set my bar, high, too" (see full story).

Grizzlies: PG Chalmers signs contract
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Memphis Grizzlies have signed guard Mario Chalmers, nearly 1 1/2 years after he ruptured his right Achilles tendon playing for the team.

The Grizzlies announced the deal Wednesday. Terms of the contract weren't disclosed.

The 31-year-old Chalmers was injured in March 2016. During the 2015-16 season, Chalmers played 61 games for the Grizzlies and Miami Heat, averaging 10.3 points, 3.8 assists and 2.6 rebounds.

Chalmers played for Miami from 2008-15 and was part of the Heat's 2012 and 2013 NBA championship teams.

NBA Notes: Knicks-Rockets still talking Carmelo Anthony trade, but no deal imminent

NBA Notes: Knicks-Rockets still talking Carmelo Anthony trade, but no deal imminent

NEW YORK -- The New York Knicks and Houston Rockets are still trying to work out a deal involving Carmelo Anthony, though it may take some time -- if it happens.

The teams continue to talk about a trade but no deal is imminent, said a person familiar with the situation. The person said Anthony has told the Knicks he would accept a move to the Rockets but the teams are still trying to find a trade that works for both sides. The person spoke to The Associated Press Thursday on condition of anonymity because the talks between the teams remain private.

Anthony has a no-trade clause and would have to agree to any deal. He has told the Knicks he would waive it to go to Houston or Cleveland.

The Knicks have been trying to trade the All-Star forward but finding a deal is difficult. Anthony is 33 and still has two years and $54 million remaining on his contract, and teams have been hesitant to engage New York on talks knowing Anthony could block a deal.

He had long maintained he wanted to remain in New York, but Houston became attractive to him after acquiring his close friend Chris Paul from the Clippers in a trade. The Rockets are scheduled to introduce Paul at a press conference Friday (see full story).

Nuggets: Team officially announces Millsap signing
DENVER -- The Denver Nuggets announced the signing of four-time All-Star Paul Millsap.

A highly coveted free agent, the former Atlanta forward agreed to a three-year deal worth $90 million. He will hold a news conference Thursday in a suburb of Denver where he spent a dozen years as a kid before returning to Louisiana for high school and college.

The 32-year-old Millsap gives the youthful Nuggets a proven veteran to pair with budding star Nikola Jokic. Millsap averaged a career-high 18.1 points last season with 7.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists.

Denver (40-42) improved by seven games this year but still missed the playoffs for a fourth straight season. Millsap's presence helps the Nuggets remain in the playoff conversation even in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.

Wizards: Team matches Nets’ offer sheet for Porter
WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards have matched the Brooklyn Nets' $106 million, four-year offer sheet to keep forward Otto Porter.

General manager Ernie Grunfeld announced the move Thursday. Under NBA rules, the Wizards had two days to match Brooklyn's offer sheet for the 24-year-old restricted free agent.

Porter becomes Washington's highest-paid player for the time being, ahead of guards Bradley Beal and John Wall. He set career highs with 13.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.5 steals and shooting and 3-point percentages of .516 and .434 last season, his fourth as a professional.

The Wizards drafted Porter third overall in 2013 out of Georgetown. Grunfeld said Porter, who has averaged 9.3 points a game in his career, has developed into a vital part of the team's young core (see full story).

Jazz: 3 free agents added, Diaw released
SALT LAKE CITY -- A person with direct knowledge of the deals says the Utah Jazz have reached agreements to sign free agents Thabo Sefolosha, Jonas Jerebko and Ekpe Udoh. The Jazz also released Boris Diaw, whose 2017-18 salary would have been guaranteed Saturday.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday because the moves had not been officially announced.

Sefolosha heads to Utah after three seasons with the Atlanta Hawks. The 2006 No. 13 overall pick averaged 7.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and shot 34.2 percent from 3-point range last season.

Jerebko spent the last two seasons with the Celtics and averaged 3.8 points and 3.5 rebounds last year.

Udoh spent the last two seasons in Turkey, where he won a Euroleague championship with Fenerbahce. Udoh was the No. 6 overall NBA pick in 2010.