Porter, who averaged 15.7 ppg on 48% shooting last season, is widely projected to become one of the top scorers in the CSL. His teammate and draft classmate Collin Sexton put up 14.6 ppg on 44% shooting. The duo will be paired with Dzanan Musa, also of the 2024 class. Both players still have two seasons remaining on their rookie contracts.
As for the Pacers, losing Porter opens up more minutes on the court for newly-enriched Justin Patton. Patton, fresh off of a max contract, was worried that Michael Porter Jr. and longtime Pacer Semi Ojeleye would continue to keep him off the court, despite Patton's strong 15.5 ppg in only 26 mpg last season.
When asked to explain the blockbuster, the Pacers GM had this to say:
Losing Porter is not an easy decision. How could it be? We are going to have to watch him score 20+ points a night, all the while knowing he could have stayed a Pacer. But this is a business, and an opportunity arose that we couldn't pass up on.
Let me make this simple: The minutes lost by Porter's absence will be absorbed by Semi Ojeleye and Justin Patton. The gap in talent between Porter and those two is, in our assessment, smaller than the potential for growth afforded to us through acquiring 4 first round picks, including Washington's potentially high lottery selection (no offense Gary).
This offseason, we gave the keys to our franchise to Patton & Ojeleye. We now have the draft capital necessary to continue to build around those two players. Frankly, Porter didn't compliment them well as they took touches away from him.
As for Sexton, a similar explanation can be applied. Gary Payton II is very similar to Sexton. So, all losing Sexton does for us in the short term is open up more minutes for Fred Van Vleet, who doesn't deserve to be a 3rd string point guard. Sexton was added to the negotiation in exchange for 1 first round pick & Deng Adel, who we like as a 3 & D guy. We felt that a future 1st could net us a greater return than the return of Sexton over Van Vleet. It's all about efficiency, and right now we can eat the losses of Porter and Sexton relatively easily.