Cavs: Kevin Porter Jr. could often have go-to crunch time role going forward

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) /

We could very well see Kevin Porter Jr. have a go-to role down the stretch a bunch next season/going forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

It’s clear that Kevin Porter Jr. is coming for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and in coming years, he’ll be featured more and more in their offense.

Though it’s unfortunate that we will not be seeing Porter any more this season, with Cleveland not being one of the 22 squads invited to the league’s 2019-20 season resumption in Orlando later this summer, we know Porter is one of the key Cavs to watch going forward.

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The now-20-year-old often dazzled as an on-ball creator, and his finishing tool box was terrific for such a young perimeter player.

In Porter’s last 12 games active before the season’s novel coronavirus-induced hiatus and before he missed Cleveland’s last three games due to a concussion, he averaged 12.3 points per outing in 27.1 minutes per contest.

KPJ also hit 35.6 percent of his three-point attempts in that span, and we were also seeing him further progress as a playmaker in finding dump-offs a bunch, as he had 3.2 assists per game in that span, per

Along with that, KPJ had a prominent on-ball creation role in crunch time post-All-Star break/in that stretch of games, too.

In those instances, of which were nine games for him, he was playing 9.5 minutes per game in the fourth quarter, and was third on the Cavaliers in scoring in the closing period with an average of 4.4 points on 47.1 percent shooting, per

Keep in mind, the Cavs were more competitive in that stretch than much of the season, and with Porter typically, too.

Next season and looking onward, Porter could be featured in a go-to role often in crunch time for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

While it’s evident that Collin Sexton, Cleveland’s leading scorer this past season with 20.8 points per game, and Kevin Love, Cleveland’s best inside-out big, are their top two options heading into next season for now, KPJ could have a Jordan Clarkson-type role.

Clarkson was traded to the Utah Jazz in late December, but was often a go-to scorer when he was on the floor for the Cavaliers. That was in situations in tight games down the stretch in fourth quarters as well, and/or in end-of-quarter instances.

Porter did not show nearly the 911 bail-out type shot-making Clarkson has shown, but Porter did demonstrate with his handle and ability to change to speeds, he can generate space really well.

Considering that, and with him showing flashes of big-time potential as a pull-up shooter as a rookie, I’d expect with more experience, KPJ’s pull-up shooting will improve next year.

Plus, with Porter shooting 68.7 percent in the restricted area last season, per’s shooting data, with his athleticism and feel for finding big men inside when defenses collapse, it seems feasible that KPJ could be a go-to source for offense in crunch time in 2020-21. That’s both in the scoring and playmaking sense.

Though Darius Garland did show good playmaking instincts as a rookie and I believe he’ll be more willing as a shooter next season, he’s not the finisher the 6-foot-4 Porter is, and I don’t see Garland being in that go-to role. That’s more so in the scoring sense down the stretch.

Additionally, with the attention Love draws, especially off-ball and in the post, I see him as more of a spacer in these situations.

Furthermore, Sexton will always showcase his overall scoring ability throughout games (and Love to a large extent), but defenses will be more keyed in on his drives as well as pull-ups, so looking forward, I’d think Porter could take on a lead/go-to on-ball role in crunch time for the Cavaliers.

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He has good playmaking sense in the pick-and-roll game, again an impressive handle, is a really good finisher with both hands, and though he showed growth last year in this regard, Porter is a considerably better passer than Sexton.

With KPJ’s offensive repertoire and with him seemingly certain to play more than 23.2 minutes per game, as he did as a rookie, next season and in coming years, he could often have a go-to role in crunch time.

We were seeing him make some big plays down the stretch as his rookie year progressed more, and a more prominent role in crunch time for him for the Cleveland Cavaliers going forward seems highly likely.

The youngster effortlessly gets to his preferred spots on the floor and he’s a willing and able passer that in crunch time should have plenty of opportunities to make things happen.

Plus, I’d imagine Dylan Windler, who will hopefully be healthier next season after not playing at all in 2019-20 due to complications involving a stress reaction in his left leg, will make for a quality spray-out target for KPJ, too.

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Also, as he gets more comfortable, featuring KPJ in that go-to way down the stretch would be meaningful for his overall development offensively as well.