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Michael Porter Jr. is a rising star

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Even though he is not playing in the game tonight, Michael Porter Jr. is undoubtedly a rising star.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Denver Nuggets Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Rising Stars game will take place tonight in Chicago, and Michael Porter Jr. will not be among the participants. As young stars from Team USA and Team World square off, one of the NBA’s most promising young rookies will be sitting at home.

It’s unfortunate that Porter wasn’t selected to take part in this game because he truly is a rising star. Porter showcased his star potential from the moment he stepped on the court in a Nuggets uniform and his future looks incredibly bright.

After some up and down play paired with spotty minutes to begin the season, Porter has played more consistently since the beginning of January, which has sparked his play. In his last 15 games — all which have come in 2020 — Porter is averaging 12 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, which are both top-8 in the NBA among rookies during that time frame.

Porter is playing 21.4 minutes per game since January, which is up from the 9.8 he played per game in the first 3-months of the season. Since January 1st of this year, Porter is shooting a scorching 48 percent from three, converting just under two triples (1.6) a game and showcasing a growing arsenal of scoring moves few NBA players (let alone “rising stars”) can boost to have.

The biggest reason why Porter is — more than likely — not playing in the Rising Stars game is because of his slow start to the season. But when you really examine that slow start, Porter’s minutes and playing time have a lot to do with his productivity.

Utah Jazz v Denver Nuggets Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Even when Porter was playing just under 10 minutes a night, he was still averaging 5.3 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. It was not until January — when Porter started to play over 20 minutes a night — that he really started to shine and play his best basketball.

In 10 of the 15 games that Porter has played in 2020, he has scored in double figures. Porter has not only been scoring the ball, but he has been rebounding at a remarkable clip as well. Offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, you name it... Porter has been a rebounding machine and has recorded four double-doubles in his last eight games.

All the numbers certainly paint Porter as a rising star, but he also passes the eye test with flying colors. Porter is as gifted a scorer the Nuggets have ever seen, and he truly could just be scratching the surface of his potential. For one of the games’ most promising rookies, it really is puzzling the NBA would not want to showcase him during All-Star weekend.

As injury replacements start to roll in for the Rising Stars game, it is important to remember that Porter is hurt. You would hope that he would have been selected to the game by now but wasn’t eligible due to his own ankle sprain, but that is just wishful thinking at this point.

The only thing that has derailed Porter over the past month is that right ankle sprain, which has caused him to miss the last six games heading into the All-Star Break. The good thing for the Nuggets: it does not seem like a serious injury, and that the team was just being cautious with Porter going into the All-Star break.

More than a week off is only going to do positive things for Porter, which should allow him to be full strength when Denver heads to Oklahoma City next Friday night. Whether the league recognizes him as a rising star or not, there is no question how big a role Porter is going to play in the Nuggets playoff push. And after all, Porter has bigger things on his mind than an exhibition game. He will be one of few rookies who suit up in postseason games that actually matter.

So, is Porter a rising star in the NBA? To us, it’s obvious. Without a shred of doubt, Porter is set to be in a star in this league for a long, long time.