Kevin Porter Jr.’s defense will determine just how good he will be

Kevin Porter Jr.

This is going to be a short post highlighting Kevin Porter Jr.’s return to action last night for USC. It came as a major shock to us all to see him return to the court last night after there was some speculation that he would not return for the Trojans this year.

[Click here if you would like to read our full report on Kevin Porter Jr.]

Kevin Porter Jr. came off the bench and started by scoring 5 straight points, immediately looking like his early season self.

That cross-over is absolutely deadly. Like, unbelievably good. It might even be quicker than James Harden’s cross-over.

(Alright, maybe we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves)

But, at the very least, we can confidently say that it is at a pro level. He’s got NBA moves and uses it to take advantage of all defenders in college. We’ve known that for a while and he’s going to be able to create for himself at the next level solely on that go to move. And if you question whether it is enough, just look at what Luka Doncic has done with his step-back.

With that being said, what can turn Kevin Porter Jr. from a great player to an elite player in the NBA will be his defensive ability. He has shown the ability to get locked in on-ball defensively. While at times he commits unfortunate fouls, he’s showing the effort and moving his feet adequately enough to stay in front of his guy. His instincts and off-ball defense is what extremely frustrates us.

During the game last night, on more than one occasion, if you were paying attention to Kevin Porter Jr., you’d see that he was out of position and being nonchalant on that end. And it wasn’t even to the point that it was just a mistake, rather that he was completely aloof and not even paying attention. It literally got us to the point that we were screaming at Kevin through the TV screen to try to get him to find his man. Kevin literally took ball-watching to a whole new level last night.

Now we can’t completely fault him. He was just returning from a long absence, was rusty, and just didn’t look mentally ready to play. Still, we’ve seen it from KPJ before and it’s more than clear that he needs work on that end. If he can start to improve, than there is no doubting just how good he’ll be in the NBA.

If you’d like to see all of the plays that Kevin Porter Jr. had in the game, watch these three videos that Max Carlin put together, he did a great job of grabbing each play that involved KPJ last night.


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