We’re a week into the NBA Bubble, and one of the most surprising and exciting developments has been the performance of Denver Nuggets’ rookie Michael Porter Jr. Assuming the role of a starter with the injuries of Gary Harris, Jamal Murray, and Will Barton, MPJ has been on an absolute tear in Orlando. In four games, he is averaging 26.25 points and 10 rebounds on 57.8% shooting. With the extended minutes he’s been given, it is clear that he can help the Nuggets in a variety of ways. Not only is he probably the most talented and efficient scorer of the team, but he has been one of the team’s best rebounders and is also showing steady improvement on the defensive end.
MPJ has been turning heads throughout the league since the restart, and perhaps nobody is more supportive and encouraging of the young star than veteran Will Barton. Barton, who has been the Nuggets’ starting small forward this year, praised his teammate on Twitter this week after MPJ’s 30-point performance against the San Antonio Spurs Wednesday night.
MPJ is special! Ready right now! 6’10 small forward with a ratchet & a handle! Stop playing with him! Can’t be on a leash with that type ability! It’s time! Gotta let him be him! Shorty different!— Will Barton (@WillTheThrillB5) August 5, 2020
This sentiment means a lot coming from Barton. Not only is he a veteran in the league and therefore knows what it takes to succeed, he also plays the same position as MPJ. It’s clear that Barton feels that Porter is ready for an extended role with this team, and potentially a permanent starter’s spot. By publicly stating this opinion, he is selflessly giving support to a teammate regardless of what it could mean for his own role on the team.
Obviously, MPJ becoming a full-time starter by the time the playoffs come around does not necessarily mean that Barton will be moved to the bench, which I’m sure Barton is aware of. However, this tweet definitely stuck out to many considering that Barton is so willing to offer praise to his teammate that may compete for some of his minutes in the near future. It speaks both to MPJ’s sheer skill, and to Barton’s classiness as a teammate.
Needless to say, between their young talent and veteran leadership, the Nuggets are in very good hands for the future.
you know what it is! You know our conversations. Mad luv lil bro— Will Barton (@WillTheThrillB5) August 6, 2020