Update: Jontay Porter announced on May 30 that he will be returning to Missouri.
In advance of the 2018 NBA Draft, Peachtree Hoops will be breaking down prospects, both from the college ranks and internationally, with an eye toward what the Atlanta Hawks will be evaluating in the coming days. More than 50 prospects will be profiled in this space and, in the end, the goal is to inform Hawks fans prior to June 21, when the Hawks are scheduled to make four selections with the first 34 picks.
Today’s edition examines Misssouri big man Jontay Porter.
Jontay Porter is not always known for his outstanding play as much as being the younger brother of projected top-10 pick Michael Porter Jr. However, in their first collegiate season together at Missouri, it was Jontay who stole the show.
At just 18 years old, the 6’11 big man is still growing and is already quite the load in the paint. When first looking at Porter’s stat line, it may seem like a pretty pedestrian, run-of-the-mill 10 points and 7 rebounds per game but there is much more to this young big than meets the eye.
It is quite easy to see in Porter’s game logs that, when he was playing well, Missouri was winning games and, when his play slacked, so did the Tigers. Now all that is left to be seen is whether he will stay one more season at Missouri or make the leap into the NBA with his brother.
Let’s look at some of the younger Porter’s strengths and weaknesses should he choose to enter the draft.
The obvious first thing that jumps out to most talent evaluators is Porter’s sheer size on the block. At 6’11 and weighing in at 240 pounds, Porter was able to win most every match-up he faced this season in the box on offense and on defense as well.
Porter’s size does not necessarily limit him though, as he was a volume three point shooter and was fairly impressive in knocking down 36 percent of his shots from beyond the arc on nearly 3.5 attempts per game. His shooting stroke overall is fairly sound for a guy his size but he may need to speed up his shot at the next level against faster competition.
Porter being the size that he is does not guarantee that he would be a good rebounder but his work on the glass was phenomenal this season for Mizzou as he pulled down nearly seven boards a game against some stout SEC competition.
He is also a fairly good passer for a big man and his vision (and overall basketball IQ and acumen) would be an improvement to any team that runs their offense through a big man at the top of the key. He is able to make the simple skip passes when coming down the lane and has his head up when starting the fast break.
Although Porter’s size is nice to have on the block, he can sometimes be slow in transition and, on the fast break, he’s normally a non-factor going both ways. His lack of foot speed also hurts him on the perimeter where a more mobile big like Marvin Bagley or Joel Embiid will be able to beat him off the dribble with ease.
While Porter’s three point percentage may have been a plus, his overall shooting percentage was not great at all for a guy his size getting a fair amount of shots around the paint. His hands could be to blame for this as he would routinely get the ball stripped in the post and turn the ball over when in close.
Porter also is very hands-y on defense and, as a result, picks up quite a few fouls. His fouls committed over 36 minutes project to nearly 5 which will definitely be a problem at the next level where the whistle is even more unfriendly.
Still, there is reason to believe that Porter’s overall athletic profile could improve with NBA-level training, especially as a result of a Draft Combine performance that was unimpressive in that regard. Teams will be forced to evaluate him through the prism of what they see but projecting forward is, quite obviously, a supreme key.
Overall, I would think Jontay Porter should go ahead to the NBA now while his value appears to be in the mid-to-late first round. He may need some more seasoning but his best chance to maximize value could in the present day.
He is a potential target for the Hawks at the No. 19 pick according to some evaluators but, in a vacuum, Porter’s value may be closer to a mid-20’s projection. Of course, everyone would love to see the Porters reunited in the NBA and there is always the possibility of that happening.
One would assume we will find out soon whether Jontay Porter will take his talents to the NBA or make another run at an NCAA title. Stay tuned.