The Maneater

Porter Jr. goes No. 14 overall in the NBA Draft, Barnett invited to Bucks training camp

Porter Jr. becomes Missouri’s highest NBA draft pick since 2002 with Denver's selection.

Michael Porter Jr. motions for a basketball prior to Missouri's exhibition scrimmage with Kansas on Oct. 22, 2017.

UPDATE: This story has been updated to include information on draft results of Jordan Barnett and Kassius Robertson. Updates on Porter's selection included as well

UPDATE: This story has been updated to include information on draft results of Jordan Barnett and Kassius Robertson. Updates on Porter's selection included as well.

UPDATE: This story has been updated to include information on draft results of Jordan Barnett and Kassius Robertson. Updates on Porter's selection included as well.

It seems as if Michael Porter Jr. was made to make headlines.

Speculation surrounding his landing spot dominated the lottery stage of Thursday night’s 2018 NBA Draft. He went No. 14 overall to the Denver Nuggets after an up-and-down pre-draft process that concluded with a draft day slide.

Three different SEC freshmen, Collin Sexton, Kevin Knox and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander — who all ranked lower than Porter coming out of high school — were picked before the Missouri one-and-done.

While Porter was projected as high as No. 2 overall to Sacramento and considered a potential top pick out of high school, Porter fell into Denver’s lap after a week which saw more buzz about his lingering back injury.

With a second pro day scheduled this past week, Porter canceled the workout with back spasms. Then, after undergoing an MRI, he rescheduled the event.

Things seemed quiet before the storm on Thursday night, but after early reports from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Porter’s medical reports caused “major concern” for several teams, it was apparent a draft day slide was possible.

Porter’s back problems seem to be persistent, as he left Mizzou’s 2017-18 season opener just minutes into a game with an injury that turned out to be herniated discs, which required surgery.

The injury was expected to sideline him for the rest of the season, but Porter made a return to the court in March at the SEC Tournament where he tallied 12 points and shot 29.4 percent from the field in Missouri’s lone outing. It went on to be eliminated in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. After a preseason abuzz with talk of his high ceiling, Porter totaled just 30 points in three total games for the Tigers. He played 53 minutes in a Missouri uniform.

If Porter can stay on the court, he joins a Nuggets team that finished last season 43-36 overall and ninth in the Western Conference. The Nuggets’ season game down to the final game of the year as they lost what was essentially a play-in game to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

A pretty young team, the Nuggets are led by Nikola Jokic, a big man and 41st overall pick in the 2014 draft.

Jokic led last year’s team with 18.5 points per game. Shooting guard Gary Harris also contributed 16.7 points per game for the Nuggets.

Barnett goes undrafted, signs with Milwaukee

Another Tiger found his way to the NBA shortly after all 60 selections were announced last night. Forward Jordan Barnett received an invite to attend the Milwaukee Bucks’ training camp and will also be play under their organization in the Summer League.

Barnett, who averaged 13.7 points and 5.9 rebounds per game in his senior season, attended pre-draft workouts for the Pacers, Lakers and Kings among others.

One player who didn’t see his name in the mix at all Thursday night was former Mizzou guard Kassius Robertson who, after transferring to Mizzou from Canisius his senior season, was a big part of the tiger offense last season, averaging 16.3 points per game. Robertson appeared to have only one pre-draft workout with his home-country team, the Toronto Raptors.

Edited by Bennett Durando | bdurando@themaneater.com

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