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Three Man Weave: Michael Porter Jr. among big winners at Nuggets Media Day

Adam Avatar
September 30, 2019

Media Day 2019 is in the books and the DNVR Nuggets crew is here to fill you in on what went down during an action-packed Monday morning at Pepsi Center.

Here’s what stuck with us most from today.

Adam Mares: I have to be honest with you guys, I’m not a fan of media day. It’s easier to overstate and embellish things on media day than any other day of the year. Writers are happy to be back providing content, players are excited to talk about whatever they added to their game, coaches are quick to make big proclamations like “we’re going to run this year” or “we’re a defensive team now.”

And that’s why I think today’s media day was so refreshing. The Denver Nuggets exuded a quiet and understated confidence. There weren’t any big, bold statements but the team didn’t shy away from the fact that they have a real opportunity to do something special this year. For a team that is still one of the youngest in the NBA, they sure came off as mature to me.

Harrison Wind: The Nuggets definitely gave off a mature vibe today. They were also relaxed, confident and seemed sure of themselves even while player after player stated that something as lofty as “a championship” is an identified goal for this season. That’s foreign territory around these parts, but each player that broached the subject from Jamal Murray to Paul Millsap, Malik Beasley, Will Barton and even Michael Malone talked about a championship as if the term has already been bantered about in the Nuggets’ locker room. Everyone’s on the same page.

And the Nuggets are right to talk about the Larry O-B as they did Monday. They have the talent, continuity, culture, and now playoff experience to be in the mix to win the West come April.

Brendan Vogt: The Nuggets came off as a team that’s been there and done that before. At last year’s media day, there was a youthful vibe in the air, as if the team knew they would exceed expectations and take the league by storm — confidence by way of naivete. This year, they seemed like a team that knows exactly who they are, exactly what they’re capable of, and what arena in which they must prove themselves still. They’re not eager to prove anything on media day, or opening day, or across 82 games. They’re eager to compete for a ring. They’re part of the club now, and they know it.

Mares: Michael Porter Jr. might’ve been my favorite interview of the day. He seemed a lot more thoughtful and introspective than I had seen him before. He looked more comfortable in his own skin and less like he was trying to say all of the right things. I know that’s a small thing, but it really stood out to me. He also talked about getting rid of social media this summer and how constantly checking out what people were saying about him was becoming a distraction. That was both self-reflective and refreshingly honest. I loved what I saw and heard from MPJ today. He “won” the day in my opinion, as much as any player can win media day.

Wind: Porter seems like grew up a lot last year, both on and off the court, but another reason why he “won” Media Day was because Michael Malone said what most of us around the team thought he might say today: that there will be an “open competition” at small forward and Porter is among the players vying for the starting spot.

Now, in my opinion, he’s a longshot to win the job (I’m still putting my money on Will Barton to walk out to the center circle with the rest of the starters on opening night.) But I’m sure this “open competition” means we’ll see Porter play with the starters and Nikola Jokic at times throughout the preseason. That has me excited. Porter said Monday that he and Jokic played together in a scrimmage setting for the first time two weeks ago.

“It was so easy. All I had to do was move and cut and then I would get the ball, wide-open shots,” Porter said. “Even when you come off a screen, he’s so big your guy is going to get stuck behind him so you’re going to have a wide-open pull-up.”

Vogt: Jerami Grant spoke candidly about reading the writing on the wall in Oklahoma City and how winding up in Denver is an ideal scenario for him.

“I couldn’t ask for a better situation than the one I’m in now,” he said.

Grant was confident, laid back, and understated in a way that should mesh with the rest of the personalities in the locker room. He fits like a glove both on and off the court, and he made it clear that he has no issue with coming off the bench if need be. Grant left a turbulent situation for a stable one and an iso-heavy offense for one with more egalitarian inclinations. He’s a perfect non-star addition to Denver, and he won the day for me.

Mares: What about some superlatives? Let’s start with #MuscleWatch2019. To me, that award goes to Gary Harris. He says that he’s closer to his playing weight of 210 lbs. than he has been at this time in previous seasons and I thought he looked as good as I had ever seen him. That’s saying something considering he always looks good.

Wind: Jamal Murray also looks like he’s put on some muscle. Tyler Cook looks like he’s been on an NBA weight training program for the last five years.

Vogt: Michael Porter Jr. was looking pretty swole too. He’s still a fairly skinny dude, but his arms and shoulders looked filled out compared to when we saw him last which is an encouraging sign for the former vegan.

Mares: MPJ did look good. I’m back on the MPJ hype train. Full steam ahead!

Wind: My last overarching observation from Media Day: we’ll see the term “load management” enter the Nuggets’ vernacular this season. Malone said that Denver will need to prepare for a 110, not an 82-game season and Paul Millsap is apparently on board.

If you want to manage my load, by all means, go for it,” Millsap said. “I am not going to turn it down.”

Vogt: I’ll wrap this up with a glass of cold water on the Bol Bol hype. I’m not expecting to see or hear much from him this year, and frankly, I don’t think anyone should.

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