Mizzou’s Michael Porter Jr. plummets through NBA draft lottery, taken by Denver Nuggets

Missouri's Michael Porter Jr. lays the basketball in for two points in the first half against Georgia in the SEC Tourament game at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on March 8, 2018. Photo by BIll Greenblatt/UPI

ST. LOUIS, MO- For several years, pro basketball watchers predicted Michael Porter, Jr. would one day be a first round draft choice. That became a reality Thursday, but later than expected, when the University of Missouri forward was selected with the 14th overall pick in the NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets.

Porter’s stock had been hard to track over the past few weeks, as concerns tied to the back surgery which limited him to three games in uniform for the Tigers last season, along with more recent worries related to his hip, have clouded prognostications about where he would land.  Most observers saw him as a top 7 or 8 pick until Thursday, when some speculated he could fall out of the top 10.

He ended up almost sliding out of the NBA draft lottery, but was taken by a team run by a former Missouri Tiger Josh Kroenke and owned by his father, Rams owner Stan Kroenke.

“I’m happy to be a Denver Nugget,” Porter said during a live interview on ESPN after the pick was announced. “I’m not entitled to this, everything’s a blessing.”

Porter missed most of his only season in uniform for the Tigers after November back surgery. He played in a total of 3 games at Missouri before declaring for the draft and signing with an agent. His younger brother Jontay explored his draft status before opting to return to school for his sophomore season.

Missouri and CBC alum Jordan Barnett also hopes to hear his name called Thursday night, potentially as a late second round selection. The St. Louis native has worked out for several NBA clubs and would be a candidate to sign as a free agent with a chance to make an impression in Summer League play if he goes undrafted.