One thing’s for certain: Kevin Porter Jr.’s role will expand for Cavs

Cleveland Cavaliers wing Kevin Porter Jr. brings the ball up the floor. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers wing Kevin Porter Jr. brings the ball up the floor. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

While there are relative uncertainties regarding the Cleveland Cavaliers in coming years, one thing that is certain is Kevin Porter Jr.’s role will expand.

At this juncture, we’re not sure if the Cleveland Cavaliers will be able to put the requisite pieces around the Darius GarlandCollin Sexton backcourt to make a real viable pairing for significant minutes.

I still would like to see Garland get a considerable minutes-share on the floor, as he’s only 20 years old, and his playmaking and vision have been a bright spot.

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While his 12.3 points per game have been a bit underwhelming, I still believe with more experience and him being able to work on his explosive quickness and hopefully being more used to the NBA game, that he can be a particularly promising young piece.

Coupled with that pairing, can Andre Drummond mesh with them and form a formidable frontcourt duo with Kevin Love?

Of possible options, Drummond is “most likely” to pick up his $28.8 million player option for next season, according to’s Chris Fedor, and while Drummond could seemingly be a quality expiring trade piece for the Cavs next season if he does opt in, I’d still expect the Cavs to want to see if Drummond can have a key impact.

That remains to be seen, but he was getting more comfortable leading into the NBA’s novel coronavirus-induced season suspension.

It’s still unclear as to whether or not the 2019-20 campaign will resume at some point down the road, and for a quick update related to that, more so involving compensation, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported how the league and the NBPA agreed to “extend until September the 60-day window that preserves the league’s right to terminate the collective bargaining agreement in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic,” per Woj’s sources.

Once again, though, we’ll see in regards to a potential season resumption, at some point. For now, you can view reported updates here and at this link.

Anyhow, while there are question marks in relation to the Cavs’ future outlook, one thing is certain: Kevin Porter Jr. will have an expanded for the Wine and Gold moving forward.

Currently, Porter has averaged 10.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 0.9 steals per game, and with him playing just 23.2 minutes per outing thus far and having only started four games at USC in his one year there, I’d say that KPJ has exceeded 2019-20 expectations.

He clearly has sky high potential, and with him likely receiving a bigger minutes workload in coming years, we should see him more and more as an on-ball creator. Porter is arguably the most athletic player on Cleveland’s roster, and his finishing, handle and ability to get separation should lead to him having more opportunities to create in the near future.

Porter’s assist rate of 14.7 percent has also been encouraging in his rookie year, and before the hiatus, it was intriguing to hear that J.B. Bickerstaff as the year was set to progress wanted to see if KPJ could be a viable option at the 1.

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While Porter is not a player that’s likely going to be featured in that role very often, it is reasonable that he could give the likes of Garland a breather in that realm. Porter’s feel for hitting dump-offs to bigs and cutters has been impressive, and as the season had progressed, he was making extra passes to shooters more after ball-swings and drive-and-kicks.

Though KPJ hitting 40.7 percent of his catch-and-shoot three-pointers, per’s shot tracking data, has been great to see along with his cutting feel going to the basket, I’m sure we’ll see his role expand.

He could very well get more minutes next season, and even with Cedi Osman‘s backup Dylan Windler missing likely all of this season due to complications involving a stress reaction in his left leg, Porter should’ve still played a considerable minutes-share when healthy as he has, anyway.

Granted, Porter, who missed a 10-game stretch due to a left knee sprain in January and missed most of Cleveland’s last four games leading into the hiatus because of a concussion, does need to stay available.

I’d imagine he can, though, and with Porter being just 20, I’m not too concerned about that.

Moreover, even factoring in how I’d think Windler could bolster the Cavs’ bench production next season, just like KJG’s Robbie DiPaola, I’d expect a good amount of Windler’s scoring opportunities, and perhaps Cedi Osman as well and/or feasibly Garland in terms of perimeter shooting, to come from Porter’s deliveries.

Plus, with KPJ’s athletic traits, and his lateral quickness, to go with quick and strong hands as a stunter, Porter could develop into a key defender for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the near future, as we saw glimpses of that throughout the season.

So again, while there are some uncertainties with the Cavs at this juncture and we’ll need to see more game action to have a better idea, what is certain is Porter will have a bigger role.

His usage rate of 20.2 percent thus far is definitely not low, but Porter has a much higher playmaking/on-ball creation ceiling than the likes of Osman and I’d guess Windler, and KPJ’s passing willingness leads to believe he’ll make others better with more chances to make things happen in settled offense in meaningful stretches.

Does that mean Windler can’t have a key role off the bench? No, I believe he will, but I’d think that’s more so as a shooter/off-screen/cutting threat earlier on and I’d just expect Porter to be more of a focal point as an initiator is all.

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Regardless, his combination of handle, explosiveness, unique athleticism/finishing and passing vision, to go with catch-and-shoot prowess, should lead to Porter again having an expanded role moving forward.