Kevin Porter Jr. seems poised for breakout in year 2 with Cavs

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) /

Kevin Porter Jr. displayed big-time potential for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2019-20.

As a rookie, as the season progressed, Kevin Porter Jr. got more comfortable, and he showed more and more promise for the Cleveland Cavaliers. On the year, KPJ had 10.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 0.9 steals per contest.

As a first-year player and bench contributor that appeared 23.2 minutes per game and only appeared in 22.1 minutes per game in his lone collegiate season at USC, that was notable. Granted, it was evident that Porter was a top talent at USC, anyway, and in terms of an on-ball contributor, next season, one should expect KPJ to have more on-ball work.

Porter showcased quite the finishing package as a rookie, with him getting it done with both hands, in plenty of instances as a driver through contact, had outstanding body control and changed speeds well as a ball handler. That changing of speeds often led to Porter being able to generate space, and in terms of off-ball, Porter demonstrated improved cutting feel.

Also, him hitting 40.7 percent of his catch-and-shoot three-point attempts, per’s shot tracking data, leads me to not be too hung up on him hitting 33.5 percent of his overall triples.

Coupled with the scoring sense, KPJ’s passing willingness and the feel for often setting up bigs such as Larry Nance Jr. for dump-offs and him initiating more productive ball-swings as his season progressed was a key positive. Porter had an assist rate of 17.1 percent in his last 12 games active, and in his second season with the Cavs, he should have his share of opportunities at the 1 for stretches.

J.B. Bickerstaff touched on how he wanted to see if Porter could do so in what was supposed to be more of a closing stretch of the season, but ultimately, we didn’t see that with the novel coronavirus-induced hiatus and then the Cavs 2019-20 eventually ending.

Looking at next season for KPJ for the Wine and Gold, I’d expect Porter to have more and more continued growth.

I’d expect KPJ to have a breakout campaign for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In year 2 with the Wine and Gold, it doesn’t seem far-fetched to say Porter is poised for a breakout. Porter had more on-ball opportunities again as the season progressed, and in his last 12 games active, averaged 12.3 points, to go with 3.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per outing.

We saw plenty of flashes of KPJ’s big-time potential as an on-ball creator/playmaker for the Cavs, and hopefully coming into next season, at least with feasibly individual work to help further develop his game, he could take it up a notch.

Now, Porter could realistically start as the season progresses at the 2, with Collin Sexton as a defacto 1, and Darius Garland, who had his ups and downs as the starting 1, could be moved to more of a backup role.

I’m still hopeful that Garland, hopefully not second guessing due to a prior meniscus injury at Vanderbilt, could be more aggressive and productive, though, and perhaps with a wing such as Auburn’s Isaac Okoro could aid him and Sexton. Albeit those two should be staggered more based on matchups.

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Either way, however, I’d imagine Porter should be playing more than half of games, and he should get his share of crunch time burn, given his talent level on-ball, and with him holding his own defensively last season on the perimeter.

In any case, in relation to his year 2 with the Cleveland Cavaliers, with KPJ likely having more on-ball opportunities, a breakout season for Porter doesn’t seem again, far-fetched.

It doesn’t seem outside the realm of possibility for Porter to have 15.0-plus points per outing next season, and to display more and more star potential for the near future.

We saw that possibility last season, in instances against the Houston Rockets, New Orleans Pelicans, and most notably, in a comeback win over the Miami Heat in late February, of which KPJ had a career-high 30 points on nine-of-18 shooting, to go with eight rebounds and three steals.

Our own Robbie DiPaola previously hit on that outing, and as a prior Cavs tweet alluded to, he was only the third Cavs rookie to have 30 points, eight boards and three steals “in a single game.”

The other two were LeBron James and Ron Harper, for context. So looking at next season, I’d imagine that we should see plenty of those flashes of star potential for down the road, two-way ability and that KPJ seems poised for a breakout in year 2 with the Cavaliers.

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Him having a big-time bench bucket-getter role should definitely play out next season, one would imagine, and only have his arrow point up more.