After a trade that sent big man Jontay Porter to the Motor City Cruise during the offseason, he set two goals. Play good basketball and maintain his health.
Any professional basketball player has a similar mindset. But for Porter, staying healthy means more. Injuries have derailed his career, battling through two separate ACL injuries in two straight years during collegiate play. Since then, he has bounced back and forth between the NBA and the G League, missing more time due to injury along the way.
“I’m still looking for one of my first fully healthy seasons not missing any time,” Porter said at Cruise media day. “… I just want to be the best player I can be, whatever that looks like.”
The Cruise have kicked off their young season with two straight wins. Porter started at center both games, recording a double-double in each contest serving as a solid presence on both sides of the floor.
“Especially in this organization the way we play, our style, the big man is the anchor,” Porter said after the Cruise’s most recent win over the Iowa Wolves. “It’s my job to play cat and mouse, alter shots and hopefully get a few blocks in there. I take pride in it and I think it’s something that really does impact winning and hopefully we have a lot of those wins this year.”
He has a calming demeanor and can be a voice of reason in emotional moments. When the game against Iowa got chippy, Porter kept his head down and played his game. He even mentioned that he likely won’t receive many, if any, technical fouls called against him this year.
Most importantly, he’s feeling healthy and playing well to start the new season which he hopes to maintain over the long haul.
“I’m feeling great, better than ever really,” Porter said after scoring 21 points and grabbing 13 boards in the win over Iowa. “That’s saying a lot considering all the stuff I’ve had done to my knees. Playing a lot of minutes and I’m going to have a lot of games to play this year. Hopefully, knock on wood, stay healthy and impact winning the best I can.”