With only 58 players drafted to the NBA in 2022, obtaining a contract with the association is the ultimate proof of skill perseverance. Many players have full careers in the NBA’s developmental leagues waiting for a call-up.
This was the case for Wisconsin Alumni Micah Potter until Tuesday when the Utah Jazz signed the six-foot-ten power forward. After winning a share of the Big Ten Championship with the Badgers in his junior year, Potter entered the 2021 draft where he gained a chance to play in the NBA G-Leauge in the Miami heat affiliate program, the Sioux Falls Sky Force. With the Sky Force and the motion-centric offense of the NBA, Potter began to flourish, averaging seventeen points and nine rebounds.
While at Wisconsin, Potter showed streaks of success, but the swing offense that has been an institution of the Badgers for generations forced him to spend most of his time with his back to the basket. While Potter is an excellent post player, his NBA-caliber skill comes from sweeping through the paint.
Further, Potter’s powerful combination of skill and size paired with a consistent jump shot caught the eye of NBA scouts in South Dakota’s iconic Sanford Pavilion. NBA scouts saw the big man’s jump in production, noting a midrange stroke like that of LaMarcus Aldridge and mobility unique to his size.
As the genome of the NBA changed through a long 2021 season, Potter found himself moving from Sioux Falls to Detriot to debut with the Pistons on a temporary contract. An opportunity to get real rotation minutes in a less-than-elite NBA team gives a player two options — to battle for a spot on the roster the coming season or make a splash big enough to pick up a contract in the off-season. Micah capitalized on the latter, showing that his skill could translate from the “every man for himself” culture of the G-Leauge to the team-based environment of the NBA.
The NBA has a precarious structure, with movements on one side of the country rippling to far coasts and back. As Utah traded away their highest asset in Donivan Mitchell, a wave crept into the home of Micah Potter, giving life to his NBA career as a two-way player with the Jazz.
While Potter is still unproven in the seven-man rotation of an NBA team, the newer, younger dichotomy of the Jazz could be a breeding ground for a solid rise for the former Badger.