The Denver Nuggets are possibly one piece away from developing into a legitimate contender, and that player may already be on the roster.
Michael Porter Jr. was considered the consensus top pick in the 2018 NBA Draft before he suffered a back injury just minutes into his freshman campaign at Missouri. He eventually slid to the Nuggets at 14th overall, who then chose to sideline him for his entire first season.
"To be honest, going into the season, I didn't really expect myself to be able to play (in 2018-19)," Porter said, according to The Denver Post's Sean Keeler. "The way I feel now is leaps and bounds beyond where I thought I'd be at this point. Obviously, I feel good. I worked hard every day with these guys and I feel like I'm a better player than I’ve ever been."
Porter was able to make a brief return to Missouri for the SEC and NCAA Tournament but struggled to find his usual form as he attempted to play through the injury.
The 20-year-old has undergone two back surgeries since suffering the setback in 2017.
"I had tough days," Porter said. "Every day, you've got to just have positive energy going in there, work your hardest … It's hard, day-to-day, seeing progress every day. But looking back, month-to-month, it's crazy how far I've come. So it’s exciting."
Porter averaged 10 points and 6.7 rebounds in his three games with the Tigers.