Michael Porter, Jr. (Missouri) greets NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number fourteen overall pick to the Denver Nuggets

(Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Mizzou's Porter Jr. Vows To Be 'Best Pick That Denver Has Ever Made'

He told ESPN after being picked, "I'm going to make sure that this pick is the best pick that this organization has ever made."

June 22, 2018 - 10:58 am

NEW YORK (AP) - The Denver Nuggets may have gotten the biggest steal of the 2018 NBA Draft, as potential top-five pitch Michael Porter Jr. slipped all the way to the 14th overal pick, Thursday night. Porter was viewed as high as the No. 2 overall pick in some mock drafts. 

Medical information may have been the biggest deterrent for NBA franchises' interest in the Mizzou product. He underwent a microdiscectomy surgery last November and played in just three games and 53 total minutes for Missouri. 

Related story: Martin: Porter Jr. Leaves Program Changing Legacy At Mizzou

If what Porter vowed after being drafted comes true, we could be looking back on this pick as the biggest steal of the draft. He told ESPN after being picked, "I'm going to make sure that this pick is the best pick that this organization has ever made."

The Phoenix Suns stayed close to home for their first No. 1 pick, taking Deandre Ayton to start the NBA draft Thursday night. 

The Sacramento Kings followed by taking Marvin Bagley III, the Duke big man who played with Ayton at Hillcrest Prep Academy in Phoenix in 2015-16.

With Michigan State's Jaren Jackson Jr. going fourth to Memphis, Texas center Mo Bamba going No. 6 to Orlando and Wendell Carter Jr. following to Chicago, it was an early run of big men in what's increasingly become a perimeter-based league.

Then it was another guard with Alabama's Collin Sexton going at No. 8 to Cleveland, triggering chants of "Michael Porter Jr." by Knicks fans who hoped they would take him with the No. 9 pick. But they ended up disappointed as New York went with Kentucky's Kevin Knox.

"They booed (Kristaps) Porzingis (on draft night) and look where he is now. That's the same mindset I'm going to have," Knox said. "They can chant Michael Porter all they want. But they got Kevin Knox, and I'm willing to work and I'm willing to get better."

With concerns over back problems that limited him to only three games at Missouri last season, followed by a recent hip injury that he believe scared off teams, Porter ended up falling all the way to Denver at No. 14, the last lottery position.