After bad $172.5 million bet on bad back of Michael Porter Jr., pressure is on Nuggets exec Tim Connelly to get center Nikola Jokic help – The Denver Post

The Nuggets made a bad bet on a bad back. And now a house of cards is sturdier than their championship dreams.

“In my opinion,” oft-injured forward Michael Porter Jr. said Friday, “we can be the best team in the NBA when we have everybody healthy.”

Well that sounds nice, until you acknowledge the cold, hard facts of the boxscore: MPJ is damaged goods at the tender age of 23.

In five basketball seasons since graduating from high school, Porter has taken the court for only 157 of the 390 games on the schedule of the Nuggets and the University of Missouri, because his creaky, frequently repaired back has made him unfit to play at an alarming 60% fails.

I asked Porter how he balances the uncertainty of his long-term health with a desire to reward a team that has invested so heavily in him.

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“You work as if it’s up to you,” Porter replied “And you pray as if it’s up to God.”

Oh Lawdy me, oh Lawdy me. Is hoping for divine intervention any way to win a championship?

Although there’s reason to believe guard Jamal Murray, who admits to being no more than 85% recovered from a torn ACL in his left knee, will be back doing Blue Arrow things next season, the Nuggets’ playbook has been reduced to a prayer book.

That’s a huge problem for Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly, who gave a five-year contract extension to a player with chronic back issues before a disappointing season in which MPJ never felt completely healthy, then retired to the sideline after nine regular-season games.

“Hindsight is 20/20,” said Connelly, contemplating the wisdom of the investment in Porter. “We tend to be a team that rewards guys earlier instead of getting in the marketplace. So we are really looking forward to him being fully healthy. And he’s working his butt off to achieve that goal.”

The Nuggets can’t afford MPJ to sit on the sideline in street clothes more often than he fires jump shots in uniform.

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