Who is Jontay Porter? Meet Raptors two-way signing with size, passing and impressive feel for the game

The Raptors made a seemingly minor move last week, releasing Ron Harper Jr. and signing Jontay Porter to a two-way roster spot.

Many have not heard of Porter, who was averaging a solid 16.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 2.9 assists in the G League this season. More than just the younger brother of Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr., those following the 2019 NBA Draft might consider the Raptors’ latest signing as one of the great what-if stories.

Porter’s story, however, has yet to be finished and it has a chance to get a happy resolution in Toronto.  Here’s why.

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Jontay Porter was a first-round draft prospect before his injuries

While at the University of Missouri, Porter was considered a potential lottery pick and a darling of amateur draft analysts on Twitter. Unfortunately, injuries derailed those draft dreams.

The talented big man tore his ACL and MCL as a sophomore at Missouri in 2018. While players are capable of recovering from such injuries these days, he tore his ACL again less than a year later. 

Those devastating injuries led to him going undrafted in 2019, but he was such an intriguing prospect that the Grizzlies signed him to a $6 million partially guaranteed deal soon after the draft. 

Porter still wasn’t fully recovered from those injuries and was waived after only 11 games in Memphis. He’s bounced around the G League since then, joining the Raptors organization after beginning this season with the Motor City Cruise.

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Jontay Porter is very different from his brother Michael Porter Jr. 

Michael Porter Jr. has thrived in the NBA due to his great shooting, but his court vision and feel have always been below average.

Jontay is the younger brother of the two, and he has the exact opposite strengths and weaknesses. Jontay’s feel was among the best in college basketball in his year at Missouri where he played like a long-time NBA veteran. 

Jontay is a good passer and finds ways to make heady plays. He’s good at doing all of the little things like setting killer screens or finding cutters. 

Unlike Michael, Jontay’s shot is still somewhat of a question mark. He hit a decent 36 percent in college, but he’s hit only 31.4 percent of his 3s across three seasons in the G-League.

He’s not afraid to get them up, though, and he did shoot 41 percent for the Wisconsin Herd last season.

Jontay Porter can provide some of the skills that the Raptors need

The Raptors centers have been mostly one-way players or greatly limited in one facet of the game. Porter is much different in that he is a jack-of-all-trades type.

While he’s not elite at any one skill, he can roll to the rim, pop for a jumper, pass, and be a playmakee. He also has a good handle for a big man.

Porter can also hold his own defensively. Despite his below-average athleticism and wingspan, he finds ways to block shots and muck up plays by being in great position defensively. He was averaging 2.9 blocks and 10.5 rebounds per game in the G League this season before joining the Raptors. 

One of Porter’s most popular player comparisons is Marc Gasol, who won over Raptors fans with his veteran savvy. Porter could be a poor man’s version of that for this Raptors team, and that is the perfect type of prospect worth taking a swing on with their two-way slot. 

With Christian Koloko still out and Precious Achiuwa’s inconsistent play, Porter gives the Raptors an intriguing player at a position of need. If he can return to the player that he was before his injuries, then he could fill the role of a connective piece that the team has been desperately missing. 

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