Aaron Altherr

Aaron Altherr

Postautor: hongwei28 » 10 sie 2018, o 05:54

If given the chance Cassius Marsh Color Rush Jersey , Michael Porter Jr. would have a simple question for those who touted him as the best NBA prospect in this draft class a year ago and no longer do today.

Why?

The way he sees it, Porter was widely considered the best high-schooler in the country 12 months ago – even though he had back issues that led to him having surgery last fall and basically robbed him of his only college season at Missouri. So now, he thinks it’s logical that if his back is better, his stock should be even higher as well.

”I’m still the best player,” Porter said.

And that’s his message at the NBA Draft Combine, going on this week in Chicago. The small forward went through the anthropometric testing – height, weight, wingspan, body fat percentage and so on – but isn’t partaking in on-court matters this week, opting instead to save his statements there until he gets workouts with teams over the coming weeks.

”I know without a doubt,” Porter said. ”I’ve played against all these guys. They’re all great players. But I’m the best player in this draft and I can’t wait to show what I’m capable of.”

The players who are likely to be taken at the very top of next month’s draft aren’t participating in the combine. Arizona’s Deandre Ayton declined an invitation, Slovenian standout Luka Doncic’s season in Europe isn’t in Chicago – his European season isn’t over – and Duke’s Marvin Bagley III only took part in interviews with some teams.

That doesn’t mean intrigue is lacking at this gathering of hopefuls.

Texas’ Mo Bamba, he of the 7-foot-10 wingspan JK Scott Color Rush Jersey , said he believes he merits consideration from Phoenix for the No. 1 overall pick. Billy Preston , who left Kansas in November under the cloud of an NCAA investigation and briefly played in Europe, is in Chicago and insisting that he’s ready mentally and physically for the NBA life. Brian Bowen , who hasn’t played a college game yet – he left Louisville for South Carolina after it became known he was part of the FBI’s probe into college basketball and could only practice with the Gamecocks after enrolling there – is participating as well.

But there might not be a player in Chicago with more intrigue around him right now than Porter, who went from can’t-miss to couldn’t-play.

”Mike is a great player,” said Bruce Brown Jr., a guard who’s leaving Miami after two seasons for the NBA. ”I know him personally. We’re cool as friends. I think he can show the world what he is capable of and what I know he’s capable of.”

Porter is among the 25 or so Chicago invitees who are skipping the 5-on-5 portions of the combine. That’s not a surprise – the trend in recent years has been for players who are likely to be taken with the highest picks to skip some or all of the combine events – but a case could be argued that Porter could have used some game time.

He played in three games at Missouri, one of those for only two minutes before his back surgery on Nov. 21. He returned for two NCAA Tournament games.

Here’s how little Porter played last season: There were 3,505 players in Division I who scored more points than he did in his only college campaign. Porter shot 10 for 30 at Missouri, scoring 30 points in 53 minutes.

Obviously, those aren’t best-player numbers. Everything else on his resume suggests otherwise – 36.2 points and 13.6 rebounds per game as a senior in high school, MVP of the McDonald’s All-American Game, and was both the Naismith and Gatorade Boys High School National Player of the Year awards. He was the fifth player to sweep those http://www.jaguarsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-ronnie-harrison-jersey , joining Alonzo Mourning, Dwight Howard, Chris Webber and LeBron James.

Big-time company.

”In the workouts, I won’t be holding back at all,” Porter said.

He’s interviewing with a slew of teams this week – New York, Dallas, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Atlanta, Cleveland, Memphis, Houston and the Los Angeles Clippers so far, with Sacramento Nathan Shepherd Color Rush Jersey , Charlotte, Oklahoma City and Boston still to go. He knows that the Bulls fans are letting anyone who will listen on Twitter know they want him, and said he was impressed how New York’s braintrust knew many things about him.

And make no mistake: He says he is raring to play again.

”I was hoping to turn college basketball upside down, just like a lot of these players,” Porter said. ”But this is just a step in my process. It’s a little different, but I’m more ready than ever. I’ve been dreaming about this NBA stuff for so long. I feel like I’m ready.”

It would be easy to say the New Jersey Devils are back after ending a six-year playoff drought.

John Hynes’ team went from last in the Eastern Conference in 2016-17 to the postseason in less in the year, riding a career year by left wing Taylor Hall and outstanding first seasons by No. 1 overall draft pick Nico Hischier and Will Butcher. This was a team that made it tough on opponents almost every time it stepped on the ice.

The standings said it all. New Jersey went from 28 wins and 70 points to 44 wins and 97 points.

Still, it was only good enough to outlast the hard-charging Florida Panthers in the closing weeks of the regular season and get the No. 8 seed.

The Devils discovered that playoffs were another level. They were eliminated by Tampa Bay, the top seed in the Eastern Conference, in five games.

”Of course, we’re disappointed,” veteran center Travis Zajac said Tuesday as the Devils cleaned out their lockers. ”But we accomplished a lot as a team. This is just the beginning. I like how we come together as a team. We faced a lot of adversity, but we survived. Because the league is so close and it’s going to be that way again next year Robert Griffin III Color Rush Jersey , we have to continue to get better.”

The Devils have ridden a roller-coaster in Hynes’ first three seasons as coach. They exceeded expectations in his first year, plummeted two years ago and then stunned the league in getting back to the playoffs.

”You have no idea of how good I feel about what we did this year,” said captain Andy Greene, who like Zajac was with the Devils when they reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2012. ”We were a lot better. The way we competed every game down the stretch. We were fighting for each other. We were picked last in the division and last in the conference. We took that to heart. It’s all part of the process. You don’t go from the bottom to the top unless you work hard.”

Hall carried the Devils this season, scoring points in 26 straight games in which he played. He finished with 39 goals and 54 assists. His 93 points were 41 more than the next closest player on the team, Hischier (20 goals, 32 assists).

”I knew he was a really good hockey player, but it was nothing like what I saw this year,” said forward Marcus Johansson, who was limited to 29 games by concussions. ”He was unbelievable day in and day out.”

If Hall can match next season and young players like Hischier, Butcher, Myles Wood, Blake Coleman and Jesper Bratt improve and the work ethic remains the same John Kelly Color Rush Jersey , the Devils can easily make it back to the playoffs next season.

Here’s some things to watch next season:

GOOD GOALTENDING: The Devils have two starters. Backup Keith Kinkaid had 16 wins in the final two months to secure the playoff berth. Cory Schneider, who lost the starting job after groin and hip injuries in January, was outstanding in the playoffs after taking over for Kinkaid in the second game.

FREE AGENCY: General manager Ray Shero has three big decisions with unrestricted free agents: forwards Patrick Maroon and Michael Grabner and defenseman John Moore. Maroon, who like Grabner was acquired in a deal near the trading deadline, played better and provided a net-front presence. Moore might be let go to create space for youngsters Mirco Mueller and Steven Santini.

Blake Coleman and Stefan Noesen, who were the wings on the checking line with Zajac, are restricted free agents along with Wood, who had 19 goals. Expect them back along with Santini, another restricted free agent.

HISCHIER: The 19-year-old can play. He’s not in the same class as Connor McDavid or Austin Matthews. Still, he does all the little things and he will score more if he starts hitting the net.

DEFENSE: For the second straight year the Devils gave up 244 goals. That’s too many. Sami Vatanen, who was acquired from Anaheim, helped the defense and was Greene’s partner on the top pair. The defense needs a star and Shero may go after the Capitals’ John Carlson.
Obrazek


Associated Press freelancer Jim Hague contributed to this report.



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