Nuggets are unsure if Michael Porter Jr. will play at all next season

2018 NBA Draft

In one of the biggest surprises in Thursday night's NBA Draft, the Denver Nuggets were able to select Michael Porter Jr. with the number 14 pick.

The 19-year-old was one of the top prospects in this year's class and was projected to go in the top five throughout the season.

But the youngster only managed to play three games in college for Missouri as he suffered a back injury which cost him to miss the majority of his lone season.

Huge risk

This was a major concern for most of the lottery teams in the draft and many decided it was too much of a gamble to take a risk on Porter with his health concerns.

Despite his talent, the situation the Philadelphia 76ers went through with Joel Embiid - who missed two full years after he was drafted - was something other teams were not potentially willing to go through.

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But with an exciting young roster already, the Nuggets felt it wasn't much of a risk to take the small forward as he could be a major piece for the franchise if he eventually gets healthy and lives up to his potential.

Denver has the luxury to be patient with him and is prepared to give him as long as he requires to get back to 100 percent.

That could even mean that fans in Colorado may not see him on the court at all next season.

President Josh Kroenke told The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears that he's uncertain if Porter will play in Summer League or even during the 2018-19 campaign.

2018 NBA Draft

According to Harrison Wind of BSN Denver, however, Porter believes he could play in the NBA today but acknowledges that he wouldn't be at full strength.

“I feel like I could play. I could play but I could be healthier," he said.

The Missouri native skipped all of his pre-draft workouts due to back spasms and this was another huge reason why many teams passed on him.

Even with those warning signs, the Nuggets were extremely delighted to acquire him.

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"Michael is an incredible talent and we were surprised to see him available at No. 14," he told The Undefeated.

"We know the risks associated with him due to his recent back injury at Missouri, but he's an incredibly hard worker, is an outstanding young man, and we think he will fit in well with our up-and-coming group in Denver."

If he proves his health, he could be the final piece in an exciting starting five in Denver alongside Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Paul Millsap and Nikola Jokic.

Dropping to number 14 and landing with a winning team already filled with talent could be a blessing in disguise for Porter.

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