Cavs: Kevin Porter Jr. will have plenty of free throws moving forward

Cleveland Cavaliers wing Kevin Porter Jr. drives. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers wing Kevin Porter Jr. drives. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Moving forward, Kevin Porter Jr. is going to have his considerable share of free throw attempts for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

This past season as a Cleveland Cavaliers rookie, Kevin Porter Jr. showed that he’s one of Cleveland’s more promising young players. He may be the player with the highest ceiling in that regard, really, as a two-way contributor that can affect games in a variety of ways.

His defensive ceiling on the perimeter, given his athleticism and encouraging feel for playing passing lanes, has jumped out to me as being really high as well if he can improve his positioning/getting through off-ball screens.

On the year, though, again, it was nice to see Porter flash big-time potential, as he had 10.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 0.9 steals per game in 23.2 minutes per outing.

Moreover, I’d expect Porter’s role to expand, thanks to his on-ball creation ability, finishing prowess and also, his passing instincts and feel for finding dump-offs to big such as Larry Nance Jr.

Plus, with how he can change speeds, especially in the pick-and-roll game, and with how he can finish through contact, he’s clearly Cleveland’s best driving threat going into 2020-21.

Coincided with that, Porter should have even more free throws moving forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Porter getting to the free throw line was a key source of offense when he was in there off the bench. Granted, KPJ also hit 40.7 percent of his catch-and-shoot three-point attempts, per’s shot tracking data, but next season, with his role increasing, expect him again to have plenty of free throw opportunities.

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Porter had 2.0 free throws per game on the year, and per-36 minutes, had 3.1 attempts, per Basketball Reference.

For a rookie perimeter player off the bench, that’s a healthy rate, and it shows that he’s such a key threat off-the-bounce and puts pressure on opposing defenses consistently throughout games.

Furthermore, in his last 12 games active for the Cleveland Cavaliers leading into the novel coronavirus-induced hiatus and ultimately the end of their 2019-20 campaign, Porter had 3.1 free throw attempts per game (not just per-36).

That was the fourth-most per outing on the Wine and Gold, per, and next year, KPJ should have more free throw attempts. That’s realistically with him almost certainly playing more than 23.2 minutes per game, and his on-ball impact will be even more notable.

It will only help KPJ to have the likes of Nance/Kevin Love’s big man passing ability on the floor with him in the cutting sense leading to feasibly free throws, and Dylan Windler’s shooting presence won’t hurt Porter as a driver, either.

Windler I’d imagine should be more ready to roll next season, and hopefully, can be mostly healthy, which should help the likes of Porter, given Windler’s shooting prowess.

He didn’t play at all in 2019-20 due to complications regarding a stress reaction in his left leg, but Windler is well on his way back, and he hit 40.6 percent of his three-point attempts in a four-year collegiate career in college at Belmont, per Sports Reference.

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He’s a good ball-mover that is fully capable of getting Porter interior looks, too, which could also translate to cutting attempts, and in turn, some free throws/and-one chances. Along those playmaking lines, KPJ and Matthew Dellavedova’s chemistry got better on the floor as they had more minutes together, too, and that should aid Porter in getting some free throw attempts, I’d think as well.

Delly is a player I could very well see being re-signed, given his veteran presence/outstanding feel as a reserve guard playmaker. That’d again, only help Porter get more interior looks, too, with Delly’s feel in seeing those.

Anyhow, the key again here, though, is that with Porter’s role increasing next season and moving forward, his drives should be more and more a key source of offense for Cleveland. Hopefully, he can get better in hitting his looks from the charity stripe, but I believe he will, and 72.3 percent from there for a rookie bench player wasn’t bad, really.

Throughout games, KPJ’s bread-and-butter game will be his driving, and look for that to be featured often in coming years as he gets more experience for the Wine and Gold.

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That should generate plenty of free throw chances, and only help others such as Collin Sexton, Windler, Nance, Love and Cedi Osman from defenses then collapsing to load up on Porter’s drives as a result, leading to kickouts.