Being down 3-1 again can be frustrating. Add inexperience and youthful arrogance and you get Michael Porter Jr. saying that the Nuggets offense can't just run through Murray and Jokić. The young forward was one of the biggest surprises in the NBA bubble, and it got to his head.
Porter Jr. averaged 22 points per game in the seeding games, including dropping 37 on OKC and 30 on the Spurs. For years, Nuggets have been searching for a wing scorer to add to Jokić and Murray - it seems they found him at no. 14 in the 2018 draft. This is where veteran leadership is crucial. A few monster games do not a star make. This is how an inexperienced young player answers the question about not scoring in the second half.
“That's really up to the play call and the coaches. We kept going to Jokic and Jamal. They are amazing players but we need to find ways to get others involved.”
Michael Porter Jr.
Many players disapproved of Porter's comments, including Dame Lillard who posted a simple "smdh." But Porter didn't back down, saying that he believes he can voice his opinion if he spends so many minutes on the floor. All this didn't sit well with Paul Pierce, who had a very clear message for Porter Jr.
“He's a rookie, he has his frustrations. Yes, he's talented, but there's a time and a place for that young fella'. There's levels to this young fella' and understand that. You're not there yet! If you want to have that conversation, you take that to the back of the lockerroom. You don't bring this to the media.”
Paul Pierce, The Jump
There what you say, and how you say it. Pierce did give Porter Jr. credit for some of the things he said. The Nuggets would probably benefit if they moved the ball more, get more guys involved. But even in that scenario, you want Murray and Jokić to take most of the shots and make the decisions. Pierce then had some tough love for the rookie.
“If you want to get the ball young fella', go get it! When I didn't get the ball my rookie year, you know how I got it? I went to the offensive glass. Come one now, say in your lane young fella'.”
Paul Pierce, The Jump
It's all part of his NBA education. The Nuggets are a good organization with veteran leaders in the locker room who will guide Porter Jr. through mistakes like this. The most important thing is for him to understand it's not only about what you say, but also when and how you say it.