Missouri knows it will be without Michael Porter Jr. next season, and now attention turns to his younger brother.
Jontay Porter has not announced whether he will enter the NBA Draft. The 6-foot-11 forward — who graduated from high school a year early and was the Southeastern Conference’s co-Sixth Man of the Year — had said he would discuss his decision with his parents during MU’s spring break, which is this week.
“Just like me deciding to reclassify here, it will be a win-win regardless of what I do,” Porter said after Mizzou’s NCAA Tournament loss to Florida State. “I’ll get better at the sport regardless of what I do, and coming back to Mizzou would be a real treat. It would be good for me. Get my body right. Get my game better and be a better team next year.”
If the younger Porter does enter the NBA Draft, he could opt to do so without hiring an agent, which would allow him to work out for teams and get a better sense of his draft stock while preserving his collegiate eligibility.
In each of the last two years, a record number of early-entry prospects have decided to stay in the draft. Of the 64 early entrees in last year’s draft, 37 were picked.
Prospects must enter the draft by April 22. The combine is in mid-May, and early entrants can withdraw from the draft until June 11.
Jontay, who could be the youngest player in the 2018 draft, would be selected. He is a projectable player with size, shooting ability and elite passing skills for his position. The important question is whether that profile makes him one of 30 first-round picks, each of whom receive guaranteed contracts for at least two seasons.
Earning guaranteed money and beginning to work toward a second, more lucrative NBA contract might incentivize Porter to be one-and-done at MU, just like his older brother.
One of the arguments for Jontay Porter staying in school is that he could be a much higher pick as part of the 2019 draft class, which is much weaker than this year’s. Based on the current NBA rookie wage scale, the difference in salary between the No. 10 overall pick vs. No. 30 overall amounts to about $3 million over three seasons.
This is all a lot to consider for Porter, who will spend next season as either Missouri's best player or an NBA rookie with plenty of potential but little to offer right away.
Which one will he choose? He will announce that soon enough. For now, here is a look at where the Porter brothers stand in a few latest mock drafts:
ESPN Draft Express
▪ Michael Porter Jr.: No. 7 pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers
▪ Jontay Porter: Not listed as a first-round pick
Like some other mock drafts, ESPN “attempts to project which players will ultimately end up declaring and keeping their names in the draft.” That’s why the younger Porter is not included as a pick. He is, however, listed as ESPN’s No. 37 overall prospect. He is also ESPN’s No. 18 freshman prospect.
ESPN lists Porter Jr. as its No. 7 overall prospect and its No. 4 freshman prospect.
▪ Michael Porter Jr.: No. 6 to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
▪ Jontay Porter: No. 20 to the Chicago Bulls
▪ Michael Porter Jr: No. 7 to the Dallas Mavericks
▪ Jontay Porter: No. 22 to the Chicago Bulls
▪ Michael Porter Jr.: No. 6 to the Dallas Mavericks
▪ Jontay Porter: Not listed as a first round pick
Note: Different mock drafts have different teams holding the same pick because of how standings differed on the day of publication.