Height/Weight: 6’10, 235 lbs.
Jontay Porter has some of the highest IQ we have seen out of any big man in college in quite some time. And we’ve only seen Jontay when he was 17/18 years old at Missouri! The offense looks completely different when Porter is on the bench.
Jontay’s intelligence is so clear to see when he is on the court. He provides such great spacing for his teammates and knows exactly when and where to move off-ball. That goes with his great feel for the game as well. That feel allows for him to make very intelligent and timely cuts. Lots of times when his teammates would just watch as someone is trying to get a bucket, Jontay is positioning himself to help his teammate.
He’ll continue to float on the perimeter to allow for his teammates to take advantage of their mismatch while also creating an open passing lane if need be. That’s another thing about Jontay, he’s very unselfish.
With that notion of positioning, let’s talk about his post-positioning. He is always getting in the right spots on the block to make it an easy post entry pass for his teammates. Every time he gets a smaller defender on him, he’ll take advantage of his size and immediately call for the ball in the post.
Speaking of his ability in the post, we have to talk about his most attractive trait, his passing. Jontay Porter is an unbelievable passer, whether he is in the post, making a post entry pass, swinging it to the wing or hitting a cutter with a perfect pocket pass.
He does it all and always makes sure to make strong direct passes to his teammates. When he has the ball in the post and the defense brings the double team, he has such great awareness to get the ball off and has a keen eye for where the open man is. And he doesn’t hesitate either. He makes quick judgement calls and they usually always seem to be the right one. Because of this, the defense never really gets to successfully double team him as the ball is already out by the time the help defender arrives.
Now, we should talk about his shooting. During his freshman year (the only one we have been able to see because of his injury) Jontay shot 36.4% from deep, which isn’t eye popping, but we should note that he did also happen to shoot 75% from the line. He’s shown the ability to hit threes off of the pick and pop or even off of some movement. While the entire game is not there for him yet in terms of scoring, he has a great touch so we expect it to come.
Obviously the main worry we have with Jontay is the injury he is recovering from and what that will do to his game. He’s a very intelligent player so that will continue on with him post-injury, but we are certainly most concerned with his movement.
Before the injury, Jontay was slow. And we mean SLOW. He was constantly flat footed on defense and did not slide his feet well at all. He would often bite on pump fakes and then because he didn’t have the speed to catch up, he’d commit a careless foul. That’s what led to his mark of 4.8 PF/40 minutes and him fouling out of 6 games last season. With this being said, it’s hard to imagine him being able to keep up with NBA players given his slow movement and this tough injury.
Jontay’s athleticism is also concerning. For someone as versatile as he is, it’s not the end of the world that he isn’t too agile, but there are moments where it’s detrimental to the team. His 2nd jump is very poor. That attributes to his big frame. At the Draft Combine last year, he had the highest Body Mass Index. Most players who are up there in BMI never really turn out to be even serviceable defenders at the next level.
He has a solid handle, but he doesn’t use any of it to really create on offense. He doesn’t possess a pull-up or floater game off the dribble. It just doesn’t exist right now. As mentioned, he does have a nice touch though so it is not completely out of the question that it emerges in the future.
Sometimes, it is clear that Jontay is hesitant to really throw his body around. He gets bullied at times and just relies on his length to contest instead of getting in a good stance to use his big body to get in front of the defender and discontinue their dribble. Working on his defensive fundamentals will be key during his first NBA offseason.
One thing to watch out for in Porter’s game is his use of his right hand. He always loves to go left and pass from that side. In the post, he will rarely turn over his left shoulder to have the ball in his right hand. Teams will see that on tape and start forcing him inside which might end up being a problem for him.
Jontay Porter is one of the prospects in this draft that all of our writers at Basketball Society are all over the place on in terms of evaluation. And rightfully so! We all see the high IQ and the potential to become a great stretch 5 in the league. The injury is what has a lot of people hesitating on moving Jontay within the top 20 or even lottery. Some of our writers already had him there, but others will need more convincing to buy in.
What we have to keep in mind is that Jontay is still only 19 and won’t even turn 20 until November! He has plenty of time to develop and already possesses the traits to be a great NBA player. Time will tell how much of a different player he is once he comes back from this injury.