Los Angeles Lakers: Breaking down the Nuggets’ three best players

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Los Angeles Lakers
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3. Michael Porter Jr.

Playoff Averages: 11.1 PTS, 6.9 TRB, 44.8 FG%, 37.3 3P%, 24.5 MIN

Michael Porter Jr. is one of those players the entire NBA community has been waiting for to blow up. He is the one player on the Denver Nuggets who has stepped up the most in Barton’s absence at the small forward position.

A former top high school recruit across the nation, Porter has fought through multiple back surgeries to get to this point, and boy has he fought. He is currently the sixth man off the bench for Denver, giving the team necessary points and rebounding when Nikola Jokic comes out of the game.

Porter’s biggest threat is his three-point shooting, which comes up huge for a team that loves to move the ball around the perimeter to the open shooter. Nuggets head coach Mike Malone has trusted his young forward with playing big minutes in these playoff games when the team is in need of scoring, but his biggest question mark is his defense.

Besides a clutch block on Clippers’ center Ivica Zubac in the closing minute of game five last round, Porter has yet to show a real knack for playing both sides of the ball. His lack of defensive skill at the moment has forced Malone to sit him on the bench in some games, which could be a recurring theme when they play the Lakers.

Michael Porter Jr. publicly called out coach Mike Malone and his team to get more players involved in order to beat the Clippers. He was visibly frustrated about the team’s ball movement after their game four loss, and after his press conference, the team turned things around.

Although his comments received mixed reactions from the public, the team did end up getting more players involved in the following games, resulting in a series win.

Nevertheless, the Los Angeles Lakers can’t allow themselves to ignore Michael Porter Jr. If they leave their focus off of him, he will give the Lakers’ secondary unit some issues as he is more of a volume scorer. It doesn’t take long to get Porter going, so the key to stopping him for the Lakers is to take him out of the game early.