Damian Lillard was having none of Michael Porter Jr.’s demands.
The Denver Nuggets are on the brink of elimination in the Western Conference semifinals, as the 1-2 punch of Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic have found themselves overwhelmed by Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and the Los Angeles Clippers to the tune of a 3-1 deficit after four games. Desperate to do something to switch up the Nuggets‘ fortunes, wing scorer Michael Porter Jr. has asked to be more involved offensively rather than letting Jokic and Murray take turns down the floor.
Michael Porter Jr. has actually been playing well in this series on offense
The Nuggets needed someone to take the pressure off of Murray and Jokic in this series, and Porter has been doing his best, averaging 12.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. While it’s nice to see Porter ask for more responsibility, making prickly demands like this when your team is just one game away from elimination could rub some people the wrong way.
Lillard wasn’t the only one who took issue with the fact that a 20-year-old rookie who comes off the bench with just 55 career NBA games under his belt told Murray, who signed a max contract in the offseason, and Jokic, a former First-Team All-NBA performer, to pass him the ball more. Given how terrible he’s been on defense in this series, he should consider fixing that before he takes over more of the scoring responsibility.
Porter can certainly help Denver on the offensive end, but publically demanding the ball when the Nuggets are on the ropes isn’t the best look for him. Time will tell if Mike Malone listens to his disgruntled rookie or if he shuns him and allows the Murray-Jokic tag team to try and mount a comeback in this series.