When the Nuggets gave Michael Porter Jr. his first career start on Sunday night, he did not disappoint. Porter scored 19 points on a near perfect 8-of-10 shooting from the field and played a career-high 26 minutes.
On Tuesday night, Porter moved to the bench as Paul Millsap was back in the starting lineup. Torrey Craig started for Gary Harris, while Porter came off the bench and performed incredibly well, yet again.
Porter scored seven points in his first six minutes of game time, which seemed to be the beginning of another big night. That was not quite the case as Porter played sparingly in the second half and only tallied 11 minutes on the night.
He still put together a solid stat line as Porter finished the night with seven points on 3-of-6 shooting from the field. Porter hauled in three rebounds and posted a -13, which was still a higher mark than Mason Plumlee, Jerami Grant, Monte Morris, and Malik Beasley.
Michael Porter Jr has 7 PTS (3-5 FG) in 7 MINS off the bench in the first half.— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) January 1, 2020
He had a career-high 19 PTS (8-10 FG) in his last game.pic.twitter.com/C29UxznqEV
Even when the Nuggets were getting blown out, it was still hard for Porter to find minutes in the second half. This came just a game after Porter logged a career-high in minutes against Sacramento, but the matchup against Houston could explain why he spent more time on the bench.
The Rockets are a tough matchup for Porter defensively, but the Nuggets could still have used his offense in Houston. Even though his minutes were not there, Porter still took advantage of his time on the floor and has done so for most of the season.
In games where Porter has played 10 plus minutes this season, he’s averaged 7.4 points per game, which is two points better (5.3) than his season total. Porter has played over 18 plus minutes in three games this season — and even though it is a small sample size — he is averaging 14.3 points in those games.
“I knew that Michael — if he is given minutes and given a chance to play — he is just too talented, the game comes too easy for him, especially offensively. I’ve seen a lot of growth recently on the defensive end of the floor,” Michael Malone said after Porter’s first career start against Sacramento.
“We’ve been struggling rebounding the basketball. He is so tall, so long, he helps run the glass. He’s coming along, I appreciate how patient he has been. I know it has not been easy, but he gets a chance to start tonight and I was excited about that opportunity for him. He went out and played great. That is just a glimpse of what is to come.”
Even though it was just one start, Porter showcased why the Nuggets took a chance on him back in 2018. His ability as a scorer has been on full display all season and Porter has made the most of the opportunities he has been given as of late.
It is a tough situation for Porter to walk into as he is trying to get minutes of a team that was just one game away from the Western Conference Finals last season. A lot of that same Nuggets team is back, which has made it tough for Porter to find minutes.
That is why it is so key for Porter to take advantage of the chances he is given, which is what he has done as of late. As long as he continuities to do that, more chances will come, which is not just a positive for Porter, but the Nuggets future as a whole.