NBA Draft Props: Michael Porter Jr. and a Fleet of Red Flags

NBA Draft Props: Michael Porter Jr. and a Fleet of Red Flags article feature image

Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports: Pictured: (Right) Michael Porter Jr.

Michael Porter Jr. entered the 2017 college basketball preseason in the conversation for the No. 1 pick along with Luka Doncic and Marvin Bagley. But a major back injury, which required surgery, left him on the shelf for almost the entire season, ruining Missouri’s hopes for what could have been their most hyped season in years, and prompting questions about his draft stock.

Porter elected to declare for the draft anyway, and the odds remain good that he will be a top-10 pick.

But what about his prop odds?


I will not mince words here. There is only one reason why I would tell you to take the under 6.5. First, I’ll tell you why the over seems so much safer.

The injury is obviously the biggest factor. Any time a player’s representatives have been as careful as Porter’s have been about releasing that information, caution will arise. Joel Embiid’s camp was notoriously tight-lipped about his medical report.


Now, Embiid played 63 games this season and made the All-Star team. And fans trust the process and all of that, but he still missed two full seasons since being drafted in 2014; and every time he winces, Sixers fans panic for good reason. He will be an injury concern, even more so than the average player, for the duration of his career. The same will be true for Porter.

Then there’s the other stuff. One analyst noted that Porter hasn’t interviewed well, and there are concerns about his attitude and dedication to play. Consider that he said this publicly:

Hey, self-confidence is great! Comparing yourself to Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo out of the gate is a bit much.

Keep in mind that Porter’s still a teenager. He’s going to be a wildly different person in the years to come and deserves the same benefit of the doubt we would give any young man, and that’s if these concerns about his personality are even legitimate. The interview process is inherently flawed in a lot of ways.

Finally, there’s Porter’s game. Porter played a total of 53 minutes across three games this season, mostly trying to come back from a major injury during the NCAA Tournament. He was not put in a great position to succeed, but his one assist in that duration has to cause some concern about his playmaking ability. His handle isn’t the tightest, and unless he has unreal shooting ability, there’s a good chance he winds up being more of a gunner than anything, in a league where low-usage, high-efficiency players are all the rage.


All that combined, and 6.5 is Dairy-Queen-soft-serve soft. It is whipped butter. That number is as squishy as all get out.

The one problem? We are not dealing with rational actors. Reaches happen, and if a player’s offensive profile stands out to a team, it may leap up and take him anyway. Rational thinking suggests that Porter should fall well beyond No. 6. The numbers are pretty good there, with low value on the under.

If you’re willing to risk getting through six teams with largely questionable decision-making trees, the over seems like one of the best value props on the draft board.

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