DENVER (AP) — The Denver Nuggets have selected small forward Michael Porter Jr. out of Missouri with the 14th pick of the NBA draft.
Porter played in just three games for the Tigers due to a back injury, which required surgery. He averaged 10 points and played just 53 minutes at Missouri.
He canceled most of his workouts for NBA teams and fell to the last lottery spot in the draft, but Denver decided Porter's talent was worth the risk at No. 14.
He joins a young team with a strong nucleus that has missed the playoffs for five straight seasons. Denver's offense starts with playmaking center Nikola Jokic, who has 16 career triple-doubles, 10 of which came last season for the 46-36 Nuggets.
Denver finished a game out of the postseason each of the last two seasons.
In addition to the 23-year-old Jokic, Denver's young core consists of point guard Jamal Murray, 21, and shooting guard Gary Harris, 23, which gives the franchise a foundation to build upon.
That foundation now includes the 6-foot-10 Porter, who turns 20 on June 29. He could immediately fill a need at small forward if veteran Wilson Chandler opts out of his contract and Will Barton, an unrestricted free agent, doesn't re-sign with Denver.
Porter's back issues may prevent him from playing next season, although he said right after being picked that his expectation is to play in the summer league and the 2018-19 season.