Cavs: 3 stats that jump out from Kevin Porter Jr.’s rookie season

Cleveland Cavaliers wing Kevin Porter Jr. reacts in-game. (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers wing Kevin Porter Jr. reacts in-game. (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Kevin Porter Jr., Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers wing Kevin Porter Jr. reacts in-game. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

It’s Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Kevin Porter Jr.’s 20th birthday on Monday, so I figured I’d highlight a few statistics that stand out from his first season.

It’s unclear at this juncture if the 2019-20 NBA season will be resumed down the road, at least to some capacity, given concerns regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic. In terms of reported updates related to that possibility, along with a potential later start to the 2020-21 season for the Cleveland Cavaliers and other teams, you can view those here.

What is certain, though, is that the Cavaliers appear to have a really nice young player in rookie Kevin Porter Jr., who at this point with the NBA season on hiatus has put up 10.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.

Porter is a player that has often shown he has a very high ceiling, with his combination of tight handle, athleticism, explosiveness, good passing and cutting feel, and I believe he could develop into a plus, impact defender in coming years.

He does have a ways to go, yes, but whether or not the Cavs do get the chance to play more regular season games this season, I’ve been more than pleased with Porter’s play.

So, here, with it being his 20th birthday on Monday, I thought I’d touch on three statistics that have jumped out to me from Porter’s rookie season thus far, and show how promising of a young player he is for the Wine and Gold.

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We’ll first touch on the defensive end.

Porter’s 1.4 steals per-36 minutes

Porter is far from a finished product on the defensive end of the floor for Cleveland.

He still needs more experience to be truly comfortable in terms of getting through off-ball screens to contest, and he still can pick up some unnecessary whistles on-ball when he presses out too much, which is understandable for again, a 20-year-old.

KPJ has shown when he’s fully locked-into his defensive assignment, though, that with his athleticism, fluidity and lateral quickness, that he can be a very effective perimeter defender.

What has jumped out to me, though, is Porter’s anticipation as a stunter, and how he’s often plucked passes away as a rotator.

Admittedly, that can at times lead to breakdowns, and he does still need to be more crisp on his rotations to shooters. On the plus side, Porter averaging 0.9 steals per game in just 23.2 minutes, and perhaps most notably, 1.4 steals per-36 minutes, as noted by Basketball Reference, has been great to see.

His feel for picking off passes on the weak side has been especially nice to see as a young player, and with his finishing ability at the other end, and willingness to find transition cutters such as Larry Nance Jr. and Collin Sexton, it’s made the impact of KPJ’s takeaways felt even more in games.

I’d also imagine that being around the likes of Nance, in particular, has helped Porter in that realm for much of the season, and hopefully, we see Porter’s off-ball feel improve as a rotator in coming years, too.

Moving on to the offensive end, another statistic that’s jumped out from KPJ’s rookie thus far has been related to his passing in settled offense, mostly.