Kevin Porter Jr. is more than capable of hitting ground running for Cavs

Kevin Porter Jr. became more comfortable as his rookie season progressed for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In his rookie season for the Cleveland Cavaliers, we saw plenty of glimpses of star potential for Kevin Porter Jr. The USC product had 10.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 0.9 steals per game, and in a minutes-share of 23.2 per outing, I’d say that was encouraging.

As Cavs fans can attest to, Porter’s finishing package/dexterity with both hands jumped out for such a young player, as did his ability to create space off-the-bounce. While Porter’s three-point shooting rate was just 33.5 percent on the surface, him hitting 40.7 percent of his catch-and-shoot triple attempts was a key positive, too.

Hopefully, we see him used as a cutter more, feasibly with a minutes-share of 26-27.0 minutes per outing next season as well. Porter’s feel off-ball in the cutting sense seemingly improved as his first season wore on, and I’d imagine he should grow more comfortable playing alongside pieces such as Darius Garland, Collin Sexton and Kevin Love next season overall.

Keeping next season for the Cavs in mind for Porter, from my perspective, even with what will be a long layoff, I could very well see KPJ getting going from the outset.

Porter is more than capable of hitting the ground running next season for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Porter had a more consistent impact as his rookie year progressed game-to-game, and after an unfortunate 10-game absence due to a left knee sprain in January, KPJ was really hitting his stride leading into the novel coronavirus-induced hiatus.

In his last 16 games leading into the hiatus, and what would ultimately be the end of 2019-20 for the Cavs, Porter had 13.1 points per outing, to go with 3.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.1 steals. In that span, Porter hit 38.8 percent of his three-point attempts, too (and 44.6 percent shooting overall), in what was in a workload of 26.2 minutes per game.

Looking onward, with his second season with the Cleveland Cavaliers in mind, while there could understandably be a bit of rust for him with a long layoff, he’s more than capable of hitting the ground running.

With a similar workload to that above 26.2 minutes per game in those last 16 games for him of year 1, and feasibly more on-ball creation chances, it’s realistic for him to have a good start.

Porter stumbled out of the gate somewhat in year 1, and had 6.6 points per outing, and hit only 23.8 percent of his three-point attempts per game in 20.5 minutes per game in his first 19 appearances.

Albeit a relatively tough start was understandable, and him playing most of his minutes at the 3 position in 2019-20 with Dylan Windler injured wasn’t the simplest thing for Porter.

With Windler reportedly doing well in relation to recovering from complications involving a stress reaction in his left leg that kept him out of last season, though, I’d think we should see Porter more at the 2 next season. The Cavs could seemingly very well draft a wing in the upcoming draft as well, for context.

Could KPJ eventually start at the 2 and he and Collin Sexton be a starting backcourt with Garland moving to the bench at some point next season, too?

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Sure, but either way, I foresee Porter being a big-time bucket-getter at least for Cleveland, and given what he already showed on-ball in his first season, and his spot-up efficiency/athleticism, I think he’ll end up playing a starter’s minutes-share anyhow.

So to reiterate, considering that and with how he closed out before what would be the Cavs’ last three games of 2019-20, KPJ could very well hit the ground running as a bench bucket-getter and secondary playmaker for the Cavs at the outset of year 2 for him. Kevin Porter Jr. seems poised for a breakout next season for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and I believe that he could get going in a big way right from the jump.

That’s likely in a key bench scoring role for J.B. Bickerstaff and company, who will be in his first full season as Cleveland’s head coach. But don’t discount Porter’s passing feel, either, which stood out in year 1 for him, and his team defensive feel did get better as 2019-20 wore on, too.

Next season, I foresee KPJ as being ready to roll right from the outset.