Kevin Porter Jr. proving that he is ready to join the Houston Rockets

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Kevin Porter Jr.
Photo Credit: Cavaliersnation.com

Last week, I wrote about Louis King and how I believed he deserved a real NBA shot. I named him as an early member of the “Way Too Good for the G League Team”. If there was a team even better than that, the player I’m talking about today would be on it. That player is Kevin Porter Jr.

Now, before I get into talking about his game, I want to premise everything by saying that whatever situation Kevin Porter Jr. feels he is most comfortable in right now, is where he should be. He had not played for the Cavaliers due to personal reasons and eventually was traded for next to nothing to the Houston Rockets. Simply put, the Houston Rockets got an absolute steal in KPJ and he’s showing why in this G League bubble.

There’s a lot that Kevin Porter Jr. does so well on the court that should seamlessly translate to the NBA.

Crafty Creator

This is KPJ’s greatest ability and it is at an elite level. He’d be one of the craftiest players with the ball immediately in the entire NBA.

Kevin Porter Jr.’s handle is extremely tight and his quick crosses make it infinitely more difficult for defenders to pick the ball from him.

The 2nd shot he made in this clip where he used the double behind the back dribble to gain the separation he needed from Iggy Brazdeikis was something that you would only see from a few players. One of them being Jamal Crawford, someone he has a great relationship with being from the Seattle area. You can even see Iggy trying to reach for the ball, but KPJ’s handles are just simply too quick as I noted.

If you are going to try to play on his hip to disallow him from sizing you up, well then he’s just going to power past you and then use his floater coupled with that A+ touch to finish around or through you.

As I had noted in my tweet, the deceleration that Kevin Porter Jr. shows in this clip is next level stuff. Given his bigger size for an initiator, it is extremely encouraging to see him utilizing the speed to turn the corner and then slowing down as he balances himself out to then drop the floater over the help defender.

The floater is something he’ll go to often once he gets into the lane. The soft touch that I noted on is something that is seen in every single game. KPJ has had no problem using his right hand dating back to his short time at USC.

Hesitation moves are KPJ’s bread and butter. The wiggle he has with his handle can often freeze the defense and really provided issues for Iggy Brazdeikis all day.

Along with the hesitation moves that Kevin will showcase, the one move we see from Kevin Porter Jr. is his step-back that will surely remind Houston Rockets fans of someone else who just had left the team.

This is seriously next level separation ability.

The crafty creator title I’ve given KPJ has to do with his ability to just pull things out of a hat at times. He showed it in High School, in College, in the NBA with the Cavs, and now he’s showing it in the G League bubble with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

https://twitter.com/Ballislife/status/1360268450707501060

Defense

Defensively, KPJ has shown some flashes of brilliance. At times, he can get hit off by a good move, but more often than not you will see him playing good defense. He slides his feet, reads passing lanes well, and forces a few turnovers each game.

As he spends a few more games in the G League, I’d like to see him locking in a bit more off-ball defensively, but he is proving to be a capable on ball defender.

There isn’t too much to say that wouldn’t be covered in the crafty creator section. His separation ability is an elite talent that should earn him minutes in the NBA right now. As I’ve said, there are off the court issues that I hope KPJ is getting to address, but when he is personally ready to be with the Rockets, given his talent, there should be a spot waiting for him.

KPJ showed some nice flashes as a passer and will continue to get better at making consistently strong and direct passes. He has no issue finding the open man or passing once the defense has collapsed following his dribble penetration.

Remember, he’s 20 years old and hasn’t played enough ball yet since coming out of High School. Get this man time on the court for the Houston Rockets quickly, and then watch him flourish.

Stats From Today’s Game:

32 Points, 7 Rebounds. 9 Assists, 2 Steals, 4 Turnovers, 12/18 FG, 2/4 3PT, 3/5 FT

 

Make sure to follow Aram Cannuscio on Twitter here as he continues to provide live clips and information on everything pertaining to the 2021 NBA Draft. 

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