Head coach Michael Malone came in to defend Michael Porter Jr. as the forward continues his struggling for the Denver Nuggets in this year’s NBA Finals against the Miami Heat.
In his presser on Thursday, Malone dismissed the murmurs around Porter Jr.’s offensive inconsistencies and went on to highlight that scoring is not the only way he can still contribute to impact winning.
The mentor also noted the promising forward’s effort to pull down boards as he helped with seven to add up on the dominant rebounding numbers of Denver against Miami last Game 3.
“I think so many people are quick to dismiss people, and so Michael Porter Jr. is not making shots right now. We know he’s a great shooter, we know what he’s capable of. But he has seven rebounds last night [Game 3] and he had really good defensive possessions in which he contested shots and was working on that end,” Malone said about Porter Jr.
“If you’re in this business, if you were just a specialist, we’re not for you. We don’t like specialists, we like basketball players. So if not Michael Porter isn’t making shots, he has to find a way to help impact winning through being an unselfish player on offense, being a defensive-minded player, somebody that rebounds the basketball, and his shots is going to fall if he’s taking the right shots and we’re generating the right shots for him.”
Porter Jr., who is the Nuggets’ third scoring weapon, has been underwhelming so far in three games of the championship series especially on his offensive capabilities, averaging a lowly seven markers while shooting a horrifying 25.8 percent from the field. He is also bricking almost all of his shots from downtown with just 15.8 percent rate from threes.
The only bright spot on Porter Jr. throughout the Finals is crashing opportunities, as his 8.7 rebounds tally stands second throughout the Nuggets squad and just behind Nikola Jokic’s 14-per game averages.
Despite the ongoing nightmarish scoring displays of Porter Jr., Malone echoed his faith that he’ll be able to soon revive his game and ultimately help Denver to win that title they’ve been coveting.
“We believe in Michael, he’s our starting small forward,” he said. “I have zero doubt that he’s going to have a very big game coming up here that’s going to help us win this championship.”
Porter Jr. got a strong opportunity to redeem himself as the Nuggets will look to gain major control of the series with Game 4 of the NBA Finals set on Friday.