Cavs: Kevin Porter Jr. should get time at 3 positions in 2020-21

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) /

Next season, the Cleveland Cavaliers will likely be playing Kevin Porter Jr. at three positions for stretches.

In the 2020-21 season for the Cleveland Cavaliers, one of the things I’m most looking forward to seeing is the continued growth of Kevin Porter Jr. 

He flashed big-time potential for the Wine and Gold as a rookie in 2019-20 with 10.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 0.9 steals per contest.

For a player that only started four games in his lone collegiate season at USC, that was notable. He only played 23.2 minutes per outing in his first year with the Cavs, making that even more so the case.

With the 2020-21 season in mind now for the Cavaliers, who won’t be participating in Orlando for the league’s season resumption, it’s a safe bet that we’ll see Porter’s role expand. With his handle, finishing/driving prowess, athleticism, sudden quickness and encouraging passing feel, it seems feasible to believe Porter will appear at a number of positions.

How many, you ask?

Next season, we should see KPJ get time at three positions for the Cleveland Cavaliers in stretches of games.

As a rookie, Porter played 76 percent of his minutes at the 3 position and the other 24 percent at the 2, as documented by Basketball Reference. The main reason for that was Dylan Windler, who was likely to be Cedi Osman’s primary backup, did not appear at all for Cleveland.

Windler was out all of 2019-20 due to complications involved with a stress reaction in his left leg. Next season, though, it would seem that Windler, while he’ll need some time to adjust to the flow of games, should be playing a good chunk of 3 man minutes.

Windler is a player I have high hopes for, especially with the way he shot the ball from three-point range in a four-year career at Belmont.

In his time as a Bruin, Windler hit 40.6 percent of his deep balls, per Sports Reference, and that included him hitting 42.9 percent from beyond the arc his senior year on 7.1 attempts per game. That season, he averaged 21.3 points per game, too.

Windler is a polished pull-up shooter and cutter, too, that should mesh with a variety of players, such as Porter himself, along with Darius Garland/Collin Sexton and Larry Nance Jr.

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In instances with Windler on the floor with him, I’d expect KPJ to often play the 2, his natural position. That would seemingly be with Garland and/or Sexton at the 1, and seemingly, Matthew Dellavedova could be getting some run in those instances as a reserve 1.

With how Dellavedova led the Cavs in assist rate last season, and has great feel setting up others, I could very well see him re-signed this offseason. A team-friendly deal would be what I’d expect in that regard, too.

Swinging back to where we could see KPJ at in meaningful stretches, next, I’d also expect him to play at the 3 again.

Realistically, with Porter much more of an on-ball presence and having a much better handle than Cedi Osman, I could see Porter starting perhaps at some point at the 3, anyhow.

Osman has struggled mightily against starting-caliber 3’s defensively, and though Porter needs to improve in the team sense, he or perhaps Auburn’s Isaac Okoro could get a fair amount of starting 3 burn.

Regardless of if KPJ does start, though, he would seem to again play a sizable amount of his minutes at the 3. That’s considering he held his own there last season and he’s such a dynamic on-ball threat that is often quicker than those matched on to him in that spot.

Along with that, even while Osman hit 38.3 percent of his three-point attempts last season and KPJ hit 33.5 percent, Porter did shoot 38.8 percent from downtown in his last 17 games active.

He also hit 40.7 percent of his catch-and-shoot three-point shots as a rookie, per’s shot tracking data, which showed spot-up promise. So again, I wouldn’t be shocked if he or even Windler, really, bumped over Osman as the starting 3.

Lastly, I’d expect Porter to get some minutes at the 1 even as well. Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff early on in his time when taking over as head coach touched on how he wanted to see KPJ at the point in some instances what was supposed to be the rest of the way.

We did not see that, given the novel coronavirus pandemic causing the season to go on hiatus and what would be the end of 2019-20 for the Cavs. Albeit next season, as KJG’s Amadou Sow alluded to, the Cleveland Cavaliers utilizing KPJ at the 1 for some stretches could help maximize his ability.

Porter generates space consistently, and in the pick-and-roll game, he is well on his way as an on-ball creator. At least in some reserve minutes in 2020-21, with the likes of Windler and perhaps even Osman, along with Nance, Porter could prove to be a very good option in some instances for Bickerstaff and company at the 1.

Porter is a score-first player, but his passing feel was a key bright spot last season as well.

In his last 12 games active in 2019-20, KPJ had an assist rate of 17.1 percent, and the Cavs might as well see what he can do next season at times at the controls to help in relief of Darius Garland time to time. Dellavedova could aid Porter in his growth in at times playing the point in a mentorship-type role, too, in the event he is re-signed.

Needless to say, no matter what the Cavs do in the 2020 NBA Draft, expect Porter to be featured in a variety of ways next season for the Wine and Gold.

Next. Kevin Porter Jr.-Dylan Windler duo is one to watch for Cavs. dark

Most of his minutes would seem to be at the 2 with Windler in the fold, but Porter would seem to be a solid option at the 3 and perhaps even at the 1, too.