This past Sunday afternoon, the Memphis Grizzlies took a low risk signing Forward Jontay Porter to a three year six million dollar deal. Porter is a low risk, high reward guy that also forces the Grizzlies hand with some current veteran Grizzly players heading in to camp.
Restricted free agent F Jontay Porter has agreed to a three-year, $6M deal to stay with the Memphis Grizzlies, agents Mark Bartelstein and Andy Shiffman of @PrioritySports tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 22, 2020
Porter hasn’t played in a single NBA game yet, and even when the Grizzlies signed Jontay in the middle of last season Porter was still rehabbing his ACL. But Memphis knew what came with Jontay’s game - versatility and IQ.
Known as Denver Nuggets Forward Michael Porter Jr.’s little brother, some would argue that Jontay was overlooked in his time at Missouri. The two brothers playing together in the 2017-18 season, a season where Jontay played a huge role off the bench for Missouri, and showed great IQ and upside.
Two ACL tears didn’t make Porter’s journey to the NBA any easier. Going undrafted in 2019, the rookie signed a deal with the Grizzlies last season, in which he appeared in zero games but in Orlando participated in numerous practices. The 21 year old joins a young core that will continue to progress in the 2021 NBA season, which is right around the corner. What is the trajectory for Porter in Memphis, and where can we seem him in Memphis Grizzlies Head Coach Taylor Jenkins rotations?
Memphis continues to stay committed to their youth movement heading into training camp - a real direction, which is a breath of fresh air for the city of Memphis. The new front office regime, entering their second season, has Porter as part of their youth movement. Jontay, a 6’11” forward out of the University of Missouri, has some real layers to his game that he appears to be about to put on display.
Taylor Jenkins ‘Pace and Space’ System:
When you look at the direction Grizzlies Head Coach Taylor Jenkins is taking this team, Porter fits the bill offensively and defensively. Jenkins likes a guy that can come in and play several positions. Nowadays, having a 6’11” forward like Porter that can play offense well and not be a liability defensively is like finding a unicorn.
This unicorn-ism, a potential diamond in the rough, makes Porter’s ceiling is higher than many would think. When evaluating a big man nowadays, you look for things that will translate to the next level. Defense, versatility, and IQ are all things that Porter checks the box on his scouting.
- Post Passing
Porter’s game is unique because of his ability to create open shots out of the post. A lot of Porter’s great highlights come from his patience in the paint area. Letting guys cut weak side and hitting the open guy, and even having the vision for what is about to happen from the post. Not a lot of big men have that IQ and patience down low nowadays.
one reason in particular i'm optimistic about jontay porter's fit with the grizz--his passing. i wrote about that and a lot more about his game here: https://t.co/z0Djyzj1o2 pic.twitter.com/An1WN4mbbg— Chip Williams (@chipwilliamsjr) March 10, 2020
Three Point Shooting:
The reason that Porter was able to help carry the Missouri Tigers to the NCAA Tournament in the 2017-18 season - his versatility. Among things that make Porter so versatile - his three point shooting. Shooting 36 percent from three during the 2017-18 season, Porter was the perfect pick-n-pop guy for Missouri. Causing headaches for opposing big men in the SEC when covering the pick-n-roll at Missouri.
Jontay Porter has stepped out of older brother Michael's shadow to help lead Mizzou to the NCAA Tournament. pic.twitter.com/4U0vIbH6UZ— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 16, 2018
The Memphis Grizzlies are heading into the 2021 training camp with 20 players on the roster which means one thing - guys will likely be trade or cut. The signing of Porter doesn’t necessarily mean that he is safe, but with his age and upside he will likely be on the roster.
Due to the youth movement, a guy like Gorgui Dieng will not be on the roster come opening night figuring in contract, along with fit, and floor time. Dieng - among other guys on the wings - are likely cut candidates for the Grizzlies. Dieng, Mario Hezonja, or Marko Guduric being cut (and/or Kyle Anderson perhaps being traded) opens up a roster spot(s), and gives Porter an opportunity to show that he belongs in the NBA.
The Grizzlies will almost certainly carry six big men into training camp between Power Forward and Center positions. Competition will be great, and jobs will be on the line - oh, and we get to see Jontay Porter for the first time in Beale Street Blue.
It will be interesting to see how Porter adjusts back into game in terms of minutes, and how Jenkins utilizes Porter’s skillset off the bench. Here is to hoping the Grizzlies landed another solid rookie on a cheap contract that will come in and make a difference.