It’s amazing how time can cause us to forget some of the greatest talents in our midst. The NBA, like any other sport, is a “what have you done for me lately” league. We sometimes forget that a potentially transcendent talent has yet to make his NBA debut. All the summer hype slowly disappears when the player, who’s talents surpass narrative, has been missing in action. The high school hype, the college hype, the draft hype, and injury hype, all wither away into the abyss, before sprouting it’s head once more, and injecting something special into our veins. The NBA needs a savior, in a dark time when stars are injured and ratings drop. The savior I am speaking of is not Zion Williamson, shocker, I know. I am talking about Michael Porter Jr.
MPJ came back on the scene the past few weeks, but exploded in a big way over the last few games. After his first start on December 29, when he shot 80% from the field for 19 points and 6 rebounds, he has been coming off the bench, but the minutes are on the rise. Thursday night’s performance of 25 points on 11-12 shooting and 5 rebounds in 23 minutes, flashed the potential we once saw in a player who was supposed to be the top pick in the NBA draft, and would have been had he came straight out of high school. A back injury tanked his lone season at Missouri and caused his draft stock to fall. Denver may have gotten a steal with the 14th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, and after a lost season in the NBA, the “rookie” is finally showing the world why he was considered such a top prospect. From a fantasy standpoint, the minutes need to rise to make him “must-own”, but the fact that his ownership has risen 21% over the past week means now is the time to strike. Porter has league winning potential, and if Gary Harris, who is injury prone, misses extended time, MPJ could be seeing significant floor time. The tape suggests he is 100% healthy, and he will be a star for many years to come if he can stay on the floor.
Another name to take a long look at this week is rookie Jarrett Culver. A lot of people liked Culver out of Texas Tech for his athletic profile, but he hasn’t had a true chance to play for the Timberwolves this season. The past three games may change that. Averaging 34 minutes over the last few contests scoring 13.6 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists per, and one facial on Robin Lopez. Culver is a hyper-athletic scorer who plays hard on both sides of the ball, which is a perfect fit in today’s NBA. The cream rises to the top, and the Wolves hand will be forced to give the kid more playing time going forward.