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Michael Porter Jr. continues to find ways to improve and contribute

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Offense is never going to be a question about Michael Porter Jr., but does he have what it takes defensively to be a superstar caliber player?

Denver Nuggets v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

Michael Porter Jr. has the potential to be one of the best offensive players in Denver Nuggets history. Not only does Porter make incredibly difficult shots look easy, but there is just no way for opposing defenses to slow down the Nuggets rising star.

Now, Porter does struggle at times defensively, but does it really mater when he produces as well as he does offensively? In the second quarter, Porter arguably had his worst quarter as a pro on Tuesday night in Sacramento. Porter continuously got bullied on defense and seemed lost on almost every defensive possession. Sacramento constantly went after Porter and because of that Denver trailed by double-digits at halftime.

The great thing about Porter is he competes and constantly wants to prove himself, and that is exactly what he showcased in the second half. Porter came out of the locker room on fire scoring 15 third quarter points to give Denver the lead going into the final 12 minutes of play. Not only was Porter scoring the ball at will, but he complemented it with much better effort defensively. It wasn’t enough in the end as Denver suffered a 10-point loss to the Kings, but Porter’s second half was one positive you could take from the game.

Porter finished the game with a team-high 30 points on 12-of-18 shooting from the field, 4-of-7 from beyond the arc to go along with 10 rebounds and one assist. The Kings had no answer for Porter as he got great looks all night and constantly knocked them down.

The Nuggets were without Jamal Murray against the Kings due to a right elbow contusion, which left the door open for Porter to be the Nuggets second option offensively. Porter rose to the occasion as he played a massive role in the Nuggets almost walking out of Sacramento with a victory on the second night of a back to back.

Tuesday night is a perfect game for Porter to build on as the season goes on. The first half was one to forget for Porter, but the second half could really propel him and give him some momentum going forward. As the Nuggets continue to struggle as a team defensively, they’re going to need Porter to put up scoring nights like this in order to keep up with opposing teams.

Not only was Porter a lot more engaged defensively in the second half, but his offense carried the Nuggets for an entire quarter and almost gave them a chance to win. If Tuesday night is a sign of things to come, Porter is just getting started and could be in for a big sophomore season. Hopefully it will be enough to get the Nuggets back on track because Denver needs someone to step up besides Nikola Jokic. The Nuggets’ star center is averaging 38 minutes per game to go with triple-double averages in points, rebounds, and assists. Anyone that can help lighten the load for Jokic is a welcome addition.

The Nuggets hope that can be Porter, and if Jamal Murray is out for any extended period of time, the Nuggets need Porter right away. He will need to take steps toward improvement defensively, but if Tuesday night is any indication, Porter is ready to be that guy next to Jokic offensively.