Evaluating Yante Maten and the Porter Brothers

March 9, 2018

by Alan Lu

Recently, Missouri’s 6-10 freshman forward, Michael Porter Jr. was declared healthy enough to play in the SEC Tournament, and he decided to play against Georgia on March 8th.  It was a greatly anticipated game, as he came off the bench to provide 23 spirited minutes for his team.  Though the match itself was played at a fairly slow tempo, it was very competitive, as both teams traded leads, but Yante Maten and Georgia were able to get a two-point win over Missouri.  Here are my thoughts on how Yante Maten, Jonte Porter, and Michael Porter Jr. fared on this day.

Georgia’s 6-8 senior forward Yante Maten played very well in this game, as he had a strong showing to help lead his team to get a narrow win over Missouri.  He showed off a solid all-around game, as he was quite effective in making plays on both ends of the court.  Maten did a good job of knocking down jumpers to space the floor for his team.  He excelled at making quick, spot-up threes off the catch, as he can score on pick and pop plays, and he also used a pump fake and a jab step to knock another three down.  Plus, he also ran off of a screen to make a long two off the catch to effectively space the floor another time.

He also showed a very good ability to score on strong drives to the basket.  Maten was able to throw down a powerful dunk to get a score off the dribble, and he can use subtle ball handling moves to draw fouls upon the opposition.  Plus, he would often draw fouls on opponents after grabbing rebounds for his team, and he can score off of them when he plays under control.  Plus, he also displayed a fairly average low post game.  Maten did a good job of making strong moves to the hoop to draw fouls upon his opponents, but he also would miss on tough fadeaway jumpers on occasion.

Also, he showed off adequate playmaking skills.  Maten is a good passer from the post, and he also will set hard screens off the ball to help get his teammates the space to knock down jump shots.  But he did commit one turnover, as he was called for traveling when doubled in the post due to taking too many steps that time.  Plus, he showed a fairly good ability to rebound the basketball.  Maten was especially active at crashing the glass to collect offensive boards for his team, and he did a good job of providing second chance points for his team.  Plus, sometimes he would fly in to get tough rebounds in traffic.

Maten also exhibited adequate defensive skills.  He did a good job of blocking shots, as he would emphatically swat them off of drives to protect the paint for his team, and he also rotated to poke a ball away from a low post player to obtain a steal.  Plus, Maten would often contest jumpers as well as shots in the paint to force misses, and he also drew a charge when defending in the post once, but sometimes, he would get backed down when defending in the post, as this would lead him to allow scores in the paint.  He also was called for committing a couple of reach-in fouls when defending opposing ball handlers.  There were also several times where he didn’t hustle back in transition or pick up a man, which would lead his team to allow scores or to commit a foul on fast breaks.

In general, Yante Maten did a very good job of making plays on both ends of the floor to lead his team to a win over Missouri.  He is a tough, physical combo forward that can score in a variety of ways, and he also excelled as a rebounder and help defender in this game. He has played very well this season, and he could end up being a second round pick this year.

Missouri’s 6-10 freshman big man, Jontay Porter also played well in his team’s loss to Georgia.  He really excelled at shooting and scoring the basketball to help his team on offense, and he also showed off good all-around skills when he was on the court.  Porter did a very good job of knocking down three-point shots from beyond the arc.  Early on, he dribbled the ball out and proceeded to knock down a deep pull-up three.  Plus, he was also able to make an open three off of a pick and pop play, and he generally showed a knack for making quick, open long-range jumpers off the catch.

He also excelled at drawing free throws on hustle plays, as he managed to get fouled on a roll to the rim, as well as on a drive in transition.  He also showed an adequate ability to get scores off the dribble, and in this game, he managed to draw free throws on a fadeaway jumper after initially using a jab step prior to taking the ball to the basket.

Plus, he also displayed good playmaking skills in this game.  Porter generally threw crisp, accurate passes, as he can hit the cutter, and he also did a good job of passing out of the post.  Porter would also generally pop off of screens, and he also brought the ball up a couple of times after grabbing defensive rebounds.  He did not commit many turnovers, but he did so once, as after he backed his man down in the post, he lost the ball to an opponent on one play.

He also did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  He would frequently crash the glass to haul in defensive boards, and sometimes he would fly in to get tough boards amidst crowds.  But he was called for committing a foul after an opponent grabbed an offensive rebound, as he was slightly out of position after having successfully contested the shot prior to his opponent getting the board.

He also played adequate defense when he was on the floor.  Porter would hold his ground to contest shots when defending in the post to force misses, and he also showed off quick hands to get steals and deflections for his team.  He also successfully challenged a mid-range shot another time.  But sometimes, he would commit touch fouls, as he would not always show great discipline on defense, as he also bit on a pump fake once on a drive prior to being called for a reach-in foul.  Also, sometimes he would either have his hands down or not high enough, as one instance allowed an opponent to get a pass through, and another occasion allowed his man to score on a long two-point shot.

In summary, Jontay Porter played very well, as he excelled in all facets of the game to help his team on both ends of the court.  He especially did a very good job of knocking down jumpers to space the floor for his team, and he could be a solid value pick for an NBA team in the first round of the upcoming draft.

Missouri’s 6-10 freshman forward, Michael Porter Jr. returned from a back injury to play against Georgia in the SEC Tournament, and while big things were expected from him, he didn’t quite live up to the expectations, as he showed considerable rust for most of this game.  He especially struggled to make shots in the first half, but he did make some tough shots on offense, and he also showed good area quickness on the defensive end.  Unfortunately, that was not enough to help his team win in this game, but hopefully his team can make a strong run in the NCAA Tournament to help him get more games in this season if he is fully healthy.

Porter did a very good job of scoring on hustle plays.  He ran the floor to get a couple of scores on fast breaks, as he scored once on a give and go, as well as another time after catching a lob pass to score on an alley-oop layup.  Plus, he also caught a lob off of a cut to score off the glass another time.  He did miss once on a tip in, but generally Porter excelled at finishing plays around the basket, especially when he would play under control.

He also displayed a decent ability to knock down three-point shots from beyond the arc.  Porter showed a knack for making open threes off of pick and pop plays, but he also missed some quick shots off the catch, and it also appeared that he was prone to rushing his shots.  He did attempt a couple of mid-range jumpers, but he missed them on both occasions.

Also, he struggled to score on drives to the basket.  Porter did use a jab step to draw a non-shooting foul after driving in from the baseline once.  But he had trouble exploding to the rim, and he had his shots blocked on a couple of occasions.  Porter also attempted to score when posting up once, but he missed on a contested, fadeaway jumper.

He did display decent playmaking skills in this game.  Though he looked to score early and often and had trouble consistently making his shots, Porter did pass and handle the ball well when he would look for his teammates.  He would look for the open man at times, and he also would bring the ball up several times.  Also, he would pop off of screens after setting them on occasion, and Porter also did not turn the ball over once against Georgia.

Plus, he also did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  Porter was especially active at hauling in defensive boards, and sometimes he would bring the ball up off of them to show off his point forward skills.  But he did once allow an opponent to get the inside position, as he ended up getting outmuscled, which led his man to score on a put back that time.

He also played fairly good defense.  Porter excelled as a help defender when he was on the floor.  In this game, he was able to make a chase down block to prevent an opponent from scoring on a drive in transition due to possessing good athleticism and timing that time.  Plus, he also jumped in front of a low post player to nearly pick off a pass, as he almost was able to obtain a steal before bobbling the ball that went back to an opponent.  Porter showed good quickness to double opposing low post players, and he would contest shots from all over the floor to force misses, but sometimes, he would have trouble defending drives, as he would sometimes struggle to cut off the penetration or to stay with his man.  Every once in a while, he may not take the right angle when defending a screen, as he would occasionally allow opponents to score on mid-range jumpers.

In summary, Michael Porter Jr. was able to play a handful of minutes in his team’s loss to Georgia, and while he put up a rather underwhelming performance, there may be some interesting takeaways from how he played in this game.  Porter actually seemed to struggle to score off the dribble or successfully create his own shot, and he appeared to excel more when he would look to get scores off the catch.  He actually played a decent game in areas that were unrelated to shooting or scoring the basketball, but he did take a rather alarming number of shots within the minutes he received, as it is clear that Porter is a high-usage player.

It is unclear if Porter is fully healthy, but if this game may be indicative of his possible future, maybe Porter might not be the shot creator that he was thought to be.  Prior to this season, he was thought to be sort of a cross between Carmelo Anthony and Shawn Marion, but either Porter might not be nearly as ready for the league as those two were, or his lackluster performance was due to rust.

Rather, a more reasonable estimation of his skills may be that he could be a more similar player to Dallas Mavericks’ current forward, Harrison Barnes.  In any case, more tape will be needed to evaluate Michael Porter Jr., as he may be a lottery level talent, but how well he can play in the NBA may largely depend on his health and ability to make shots efficiently at the next level.

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