Michael Porter Jr. blames Clippers doctor for slide in draft
The Denver Nuggets’ second-round playoff series will be personal for Michael Porter Jr.
Porter told reporters on Wednesday that he blamed the LA Clippers’ team doctor for his slide in the 2018 NBA Draft.
“Their doctor was the one that wrote the [medical] report on me,” Porter said, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. “I think he wrote some stuff like he thought that I would never play basketball again so I didn’t think they would pick me. But, I mean, it’s going to be fun to play against them, for sure.”
The 22-year-old Porter, who was once in play to go with the top overall pick in 2018, fell due to concerns over his back. He appeared in just three games in college because of back issues. Porter also had a microdiscectomy of his L3-L4 spinal disks in 2017 followed by a second spinal surgery in 2018.
The Clippers had the No. 12 and No. 13 picks in that year’s draft. They used one to trade up for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and used the other to take Jerome Robinson. Porter then went to the Nuggets with the No. 14 pick. While he missed his entire rookie season, Porter has since emerged as a dynamic offensive contributor for Denver in the bubble.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers also spoke on the Porter issue on Wednesday.
“It was brutal for us,” said Rivers, also per Youngmisuk. “We had [him] on our board, just the medical report, the red flag was so hot. We got the one guy we wanted in [Gilgeous-Alexander]. And the second pick, when he was on the board, it was a brutal pass because everyone in the room knew his talent but it was more the injury concern. That was the only other concern.”
Gilgeous-Alexander was a revelation for the Clippers before he was traded to Oklahoma City last summer in the Paul George blockbuster. The Robinson pick though was a big whiff. The Clippers dealt him to Washington in the Marcus Morris trade last February after a very underwhelming tenure.
Porter did recently admit that he once thought about quitting basketball because of his back. Without the benefit of hindsight at the time, the Clippers’ evaluation of Porter at the time still seems defensible.