It’s hard to be patient in the NBA. When a team has 15 roster spots, a limited salary cap and only so many minutes to pass around to players, a team can’t afford to carry players who can’t contribute and are longshots to contribute in the future. A bad team can give more leeway than a good one, but no team can afford to start collecting unplayable players.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have experienced that this season, waiting as long as possible on Dylan Windler. The fourth-year wing has had his career decimated by injuries and is likely to move on from the team this summer. They did their best not to give up on Windler too early, but he doesn’t seem to have a future in Cleveland, and perhaps the entire NBA.
Unlike Windler, there are a number of players that the Cavs gave up on too early. They went on to have long, productive careers somewhere other than Cleveland.
7. The Cleveland Cavaliers gave up on Kevin Porter Jr. too soon
Kevin Porter Jr. checks in at seventh on our list of seven players, as the Cavs probably gave up too soon on him but their reasons for doing so are still fairly valid. Porter was the 30th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and played 50 games as a rookie with the Cavaliers, showing plenty of flashes inside of an inefficient scoring package. He looked like exactly what he was, a hyper-talented on-ball guard lacking polish.
The problem was that he also displayed incredible immaturity, clashing with teammates and coaches. The organization finally concluded that the pairing was never going to work out, and shipped him to the Houston Rockets for a minor second-round pick.
In Houston, KPJ has still shown some of those temperament issues, but otherwise has continued to develop as a talented scorer. This season, his fourth in the league, he is averaging a career-best 18.6 points per game, with 5.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists. He is still fairly inefficient, but on-ball scoring is the most valuable skill in the league and it’s one that he has. The Cavaliers would have been much better off finding a way to work things out with Porter.