2021 NBA Playoff X-Factors – West


Denver Nuggets

47-25, 3rd in West

Playoff Matchup: (6) Portland Trailblazers

Sean: Michael Porter Jr.

Michael Porter may not be eligible for this list in future seasons but he’s my pick this year.  With Murray out and teams keying on Jokic, Porter is going to have to take over some of these playoff games offensively. 

Up to this point, Porter has done a great job of assimilating to Mike Malone’s offensive scheme.  He plays well off Jokic and he’s shooting a scorching 44% from 3 this season. That being said, Porter will have to do even more in the playoffs. Porter is capable of being a number 1 scorer and with Jokic feeding him and playing off double teams, Porter has a chance to excel. 

James: Michael Porter Jr.

Like last year, MPJ is a huge boost for Denver moving forward. With Murray out for the season, Porter has the opportunity to create more of a name for himself in this playoff run. He’s seeing a career year putting up 19 ppg, and 7.3 rpg on 31.3 minutes when a season ago he was averaging 9.3 ppg, and 4.7 rpg on 16.4 minutes. 

Biggest leap in being an X Factor comes from his confidence. He is the most alert and ready shooter in the league and it shows as his red hit three point shooting is at 44%. Playing in a system where ball movement is the emphasis, Porter moves without the basketball beautifully. The big test is if he can step up in the absence of Jamal Murray. 



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