6’11”, 240 Pounds
November 5th, 1999
Jontay Porter played high school ball at Nathan Hale and was the 18th ranked player in the class of 2018. He reclassified to play with his brother, Michael Porter Jr., joining him at Missouri. He originally committed to Washington but de-committed and went to Mizzou with his brother. Michael Porter Jr. missed most of the 2017-18 season with an injury and Porter played well in his absence, putting his name in the 2018 NBA draft discussion. Porter won the SEC Co-Sixth Man of The Year award and made the all-SEC freshman team. He declared for the NBA draft without an agent and has until May 30th to return to school.
Porter is a versatile four with a skill set built for the modern NBA. The most outstanding ability of Porter’s is his passing. Big men who can pass are so valuable in the NBA; we see teams like Denver run their offense through a passing big man in Nikola Jokic. Porter not only always makes the right pass but has elite level vision in the half court. He is adept at passing out of the post and he passes out of double teams exceptionally well. Although he doesn’t roll to the rim often, he projects to pass out of the short roll very well. He is a good three-point shooter when set (40.3% conference) and is lethal as a pick and pop player. Porter has solid ball-handling ability for a big man and is quick enough to beat most bigs off of the dribble.
Porter has great size and strength for an NBA four or five. He is a pretty solid post scorer; Porter uses his strength to muscle his defenders away and uses his great footwork to create openings for himself for easy shots. He is an effective cutter and works well off of the ball. Porter is one of the youngest players in the draft but he understands the offensive game better than most in this class. He is a good defensive rebounder and has a good motor on the offensive glass. Porter defends the post well and uses his length to contest shots often. He is a decent athlete but has better leaping ability than you would expect. Porter combines his good timing as a weakside help defender and leaping ability to be a solid shot blocker.
Porter isn’t a great athlete and lacks the foot quickness to guard most players on the wing. Like most freshmen, his understanding of off-ball defense is weak. He often gets lost picking up a man in transition and helps when he shouldn’t. He has good length but can be a bit foul prone when closing out. His jump shot was good enough in college but it may not project to the NBA. His release is a bit low and his feet are too close together. He is most effective in catch-and-shoot situations where he can smoothly get into his release.
Porter’s touch and feel around the basket are lacking. He often settles for bad fadeaways and misses due to his lack of touch. He is left hand dominant at this point despite the fact that his right hand seems pretty good when he decides to use it. His ball handling ability isn’t good enough to fool the better NBA wing defenders and he occasionally turns the ball over trying to do too much.
Best NBA Fits
The Timberwolves have their young core pretty much set and are looking for role players now. Although Taj Gibson is having the best season of his career, the Wolves could use an upgrade at the power forward spot. The Timberwolves have a depth problem and a Tom Thibodeau team without depth will inevitably end in disaster. They rank in the bottom half of the NBA in assists this year (22.6) and Porter’s passing ability will help to increase that ranking. The Wolves are in a great spot to pick Porter, as they will likely have a pick around 20.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers assist the least out of any team in the NBA (19.6). They will pick around the mid-20s, which could be a bit out of Porter’s range. His floor spacing ability would be very useful for Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, who would have more space to penetrate. Portland has their center position set with Jusuf Nurkic but could use an upgrade over the likes of Meyers Leonard and Al-Farouq Aminu. Porter would be a solid role player right away with high upside on a team that is looking to win a championship now.
The Hawks found their power forward of the future in last year’s draft with John Collins. Jontay Porter has the size to play some stretch five if he gets a bit stronger. Porter and Collins would compliment each other perfectly. Collins is supremely athletic and is a highlight dunk threat on every play but he is not very skilled and technically nuanced at this point. Porter isn’t a super athlete but his passing and shooting ability would be a good compliment to the Hawks’ team-oriented offensive style. The Hawks would use their second pick of the draft from Minnesota on Porter, paring him with the high-ceiling potential superstar that they will likely take in the top five.
For an 18-year-old, Porter has one of the most refined and mature games in this class. He understands angles and spacing like most in this class do not. For such a smart offensive player, it is fair to assume that at some point he will figure out how to play off-ball defense consistently and become a smart and solid defender. Porter needs to work on his inside touch and overall conditioning to improve his defensive ability. His ceiling may not be the highest in this class, but whatever team drafts Jontay Porter will know exactly what they will get with him, which is valuable in its own right. His ability as a floor spacer and playmaker will get him minutes right away in the NBA.
Games Scouted: Missouri vs St. Johns, Missouri at South Carolina, Missouri vs Florida, Missouri vs Kentucky, Missouri at Ole Miss, Missouri at Vanderbilt, Missouri vs Florida State
Check out FPC’s 2018 NBA draft big board right here!
en Pfeifer is the Managing Editor of the Colts for Full Press Coverage, the AFC South Division Editor, and head NBA editor. Want to continue the discussion? Contact Ben Pfeifer on Twitter @Ben_Pfeifer_, @FPC_NBA and @FPC_Colts.