Bleacher Report is right: Kevin Porter Jr. will be Cavs’ best player in 2023

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) /

Kevin Porter Jr. is a player the Cleveland Cavaliers are really high on, and the same goes for Bleacher Report.

Us Cleveland Cavaliers fans have been so encouraged by the play of rookie Kevin Porter Jr. throughout this 2019-20 campaign, and so has the squad it seems.

The now-20-year-old had come on after the Cavs traded Jordan Clarkson to the Utah Jazz in late December, too. In Porter’s last 15 games leading into the NBA season’s novel coronavirus-induced hiatus, KPJ averaged 12.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.0 steals per game.

Whether or not we do see more Cavaliers game action in 2019-20 likely at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World is uncertain, though.

In terms of reported potential scenarios for a resumption, you can view those here and also here. For a quick additional update about the results of a recent general manager survey from the league, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium tweeted out this as far as how GM’s feel.

What is certain, though, is that Porter is one of the most promising players on Cleveland’s roster. He could very well be the most promising young player going forward, too.

On the season, Porter has continually flashed his massive potential as an on-ball creator, explosive above-the-rim finisher in both settled offense and in transition and secondary playmaker.

Considering what he’s shown so far, Bleacher Report is right in forecasting that KPJ will be the best player on the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2023.

Here was Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report’s rationale for stating why Porter will be the Cavs’ best player three years from today. Buckley mentioned how Porter’s style/potential as a creator will seemingly turn out to positively affect winning whereas Collin Sexton will not essentially elevate the Cavs to relevancy, and that Darius Garland has a very long way to go.

"“Collin Sexton’s statistical argument for this designation is ironclad, but it’s tough to tell whether he can impact winning. He’s a 6’1″ scoring guard who doesn’t distinguish himself as a defender or a distributor. Even if he’s flashing a scoring-shooting efficiency blend few players his age have, he isn’t moving Cleveland’s bottom line and might not have the skill set to ever do so.Kevin Porter Jr. is different.He’s not as productive, obviously, but he’s also not as lost as Darius Garland. Porter’s shot-creation moves are already advanced, and he’ll give glimpses of high-level defending and secondary passing. If he rockets toward his full potential over the next three years, he could be well on the way to stardom.”"

Sexton, who has had 20.8 points per game this season and led Cleveland in that category, does have to improve in regards to the defensive end and his passing feel needs to get better.

That being said, Sexton got stronger this past offseason, and that’s led to him, from an on-ball standpoint, taking positive strides as a defender throughout this season, and his feel as a stunter on the strong side to ball-handlers has been a bright spot.

That and his hands in the pick-and-roll game have led to him doubling his steals per game from 0.5 to 1.0 this season. Nonetheless, Sexton does not have the physical tools Porter, who is 6-foot-4 and 203 pounds already has, nor the innate passing vision, even as a score-first contributor, and that’s even with Sexton showing growth in that realm.

While Sexton’s scoring has been so impressive, and he’s proven to be a heck of a catch-and-shoot three-point marksman, and his cutting has improved, KPJ has flashed good cutting ability and catch-and-shoot prowess, too.

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On the year, Porter has hit 40.7 percent of his catch-and-shoot three-point attempts, per’s shot tracking data, and it’s evident that going into next season, KPJ is the Cavs’ best driving threat.

His ambidextrous finishing ability, sudden quickness, effortless handle, and his power near the basket, to go with his vision to hit dump-offs to bigs such as Larry Nance Jr. and Kevin Love and also hit spray-outs makes him so dangerous when he gets in the paint.

Even with Porter struggling to hit pull-ups much of this season, it’s clear that especially with him being bigger than Sexton, that Porter is often an on-ball mismatch and can really get anywhere he wants on the floor with a more polished handle.

Once KPJ hits his pull-ups more, coupled with him already being such a terror near the basket, look out.

He has again proven to have high potential as a switchable defender, too, even though that hasn’t necessarily shown consistently yet. Porter’s 1.4 steals per-36 minutes as a rookie so far have jumped out to me, too, and he’s shown to mirror opposing perimeter players well when he’s not over-extending.

Moreover, regardless of if Kevin Love is still a Cavalier in 2023 pre-offseason (when his contract will be up), Love would be going into his age-35 in 2023-24, if he elects to.

Plus, even with his nice passing element as a big, the floor spacing and inside-out element he provides, along with elite defensive rebounding, Sexton may be a better player now for Cleveland with the constant pressure he puts on opposing defenses. Sexton is yet to miss a game in his near-two seasons, too.

Looking to 2023, could the Cavs have by then added potential star talents such as 2021 prospects in Cade Cunningham or Jonathan Kuminga, let alone a generational superstar talent in Emoni Bates?

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Potentially, but it’s tough to say, and I’d expect Cleveland to be improved next season.

Sexton, Garland, who was playing much better leading into the hiatus and before he missed five games due to a left groin strain, Nance and others looked especially re-energized after J.B. Bickerstaff took the head coaching reigns.

I’d also imagine Dylan Windler, who has yet to appear with Cleveland due to complications involving a stress reaction in his left leg, could be a key floor spacer/secondary playmaker for the Cleveland Cavaliers in coming years.

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At any rate, with what he’s shown as an on-ball creator and unique athlete, it’s clear that the aforementioned Buckley was right in forecasting KPJ as the Cavs’ best player in 2023.