Kevin Porter Jr. is the Cavs’ best driving threat heading into 2020-21

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) /

Heading into next season, it’s evident that Kevin Porter Jr. is the best driving threat on the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Kevin Porter Jr.‘s rookie season for the Cleveland Cavaliers is one that’s gotten two thumbs up from me thus far. As a bench contributor, he has had some tough stretches, but all together, I’ve been encouraged.

10.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game in 23.2 minutes per outing has been plenty fine for KPJ, and he’s continued to show promise as an on-ball creator on the perimeter.

That’s included the pick-and-roll game as well, and though his three-point shooting clip of 33.5 percent hasn’t been stellar, Porter has done commendable work off-the-catch. On catch-and-shoot three-point looks in 2019-20 to this point, Porter has knocked in those at a clip of 40.7 percent, per’s shot tracking data.

While KPJ does have to keep improving on his pull-ups, as he’s only had an effective field goal shooting clip of 34.0 percent on those, looking at next season, one thing we do know regarding a strength for him.

Heading into next season, Porter is the Cleveland Cavaliers’ best driving threat.

Despite his struggles on hitting his pull-ups consistently, Porter’s handle has often enabled him to generate space on-ball, and finishing near the paint and/or at the rim has been the bread and butter part of his game.

Even with KPJ not being the biggest dude on the floor when he’s been in there at 6-foot-4 and 203 pounds, Porter has finished both with authority and with touch/body control near the basket.

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On shots 10 feet and in thus far this season, he’s hit a solid 62.7 percent on those looks, and even while his shots a bit further out from the rim have been spotty, he’s hit a healthy 68.7 percent inside the restricted area, per’s shooting data.

Porter’s ability to change speeds to keep his primary defenders off balance, and eat up space after blow-bys if bigs out on to him has led to easy buckets in settled offense for him on a considerable amount of occasions.

That was even more so the case before Porter missed most of the Cavs’ last four games due to a concussion heading into the NBA season’s novel coronavirus-induced hiatus, too.

Whether or not we see the Cavs in game action again in 2019-20 via centralized location likely at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex, of which you can view reported updates about potential scenarios here and also here, one thing is abundantly clear.

It’s obvious that KPJ has proven to be one of the Cavs’ most dangerous players off the bounce this season, and that’s part of why his role for Cleveland should expand moving forward.

Collin Sexton, who is Cleveland’s leading scorer with 20.8 points per game, is realistically the other player in this conversation heading into 2020-21 currently on the Cavs, as Darius Garland has a lot to prove in that regard in the finishing sense.

Auburn’s Isaac Okoro, who could be a rock solid 2020 NBA Draft selection, could excel in the driving sense early on, too, and other Cleveland Cavaliers perimeter players Dante Exum and Cedi Osman have very good passing feel on drives via kickouts. Exum is a more than capable finisher, too, and Alfonzo McKinnie is on straight-line drives, in particular.

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That being said, heading into the 2020-21 campaign, with his natural body control, ambidextrous finishing both in terms of touch and power, and with his sense for finding dump-offs to Larry Nance Jr., Kevin Love and others, it’s clear that Porter is the Cavs’ best driver.

That will be regardless of who the Cavaliers ultimately end up selecting in the upcoming draft, too. With that being the case, I’d imagine that Porter will continue to draw free throws at a high rate, and a free throw rate of 24.0 percent demonstrates he’s done so.

Furthermore, to take more advantage of Porter’s driving prowess, the Cavs could maximize that by having him on the floor a bunch with the likes of Garland and Dylan Windler, to go with Nance on the interior and on the outside as an improved perimeter shooter.

Although we haven’t seen Windler yet due to complications involving a stress reaction in his left leg, he hit 40.6 percent of his three-point shots in a four-year career at Belmont, per Sports Reference.

That included Windler hitting 42.9 percent of his 7.1 attempts per game as a senior, and with Windler being a highly capable finisher/cutter as well, he’d benefit to a large degree from the gravity of Porter as Cleveland’s best driving threat, too.

Anyhow, Sexton is Cleveland’s best overall scorer right now and likely will continue to be in coming years, and it’s difficult to see that changing much.

Even so, it’s clear that with his varying tool box inside, coupled with his athleticism and power, and with him having a nice assist rate of 14.7 percent already, that KPJ is the Cavs’ best driving threat heading into 2020-21.

Next. Cedi Osman, Dylan Windler as occasional rollers could be viable. dark

I’d expect Cleveland head coach J.B. Bickerstaff to recognize that, and get Porter in games more than just those aforementioned 23.2 minutes per outing as he has thus far in 2019-20.