Dating back to his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers in Las Vegas Summer League, it was evident that the Cavaliers might have a gem in Craig Porter Jr. Porter was one of the top performers for Cleveland then, and even with him currently being on a two-way deal as an undrafted player, he’s proving himself to be a quality prospect for them.
So far with the Cavaliers, he's had splits of 8.0 points and 2.9 assists per contest, in what's been an average of 15.4 minutes per game. For him to be involved in nine games already has been telling, though, and as the chances have arisen, Porter has settled in.
In recent games, he has really given the Cavaliers a lift in his minutes off the bench. Part of the reasoning for his increased splits have been the Cavaliers’ absences in the backcourt and/or on the wing, but that doesn’t diminish what the rookie has done of late.
Here were Porter's contributions from the Cavaliers' last three games, prior to Cleveland's ugly loss on Wednesday to the Miami Heat. That one was not a game to get excited about, obviously, but it's safe to say Cleveland got a steal in Porter, who also had terrific games in wins over the Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers.
Porter has been called upon more by Cleveland recently, and it's apparent that he's up to the task, and that he's not phased by the setting.
The moment’s not going to be too big for Craig Porter Jr., as he's continued to show in his Cavaliers opportunities, for the most part.
Porter has received his share of praise for how he's been playing recently with the Cavaliers, from his teammates and the team, by reporters around the team and from Cavs fans, and that praise has been warranted.
Now, in his first NBA start on Wednesday, Porter had a tough time early on, got lost at points on defense in defense of Lowry, who uncharacteristically shot the lights out, as opposed to plenty of the time in recent seasons. And Porter on offense was uneven versus the Heat, factoring in some odd turnovers (he finished with four in total).
Even still, in a sloppy game where the Cavs seemed exhausted on their third game in four nights, Porter did some good things, as he did have 16 points, five assists, two blocks and a steal. There were still some impressive plays from him in that contest, despite Cleveland's blowout loss, injuries aside.
By and large, what Porter has done in recent games has given Cleveland quite a boost, and as opportunity has come knocking, he has gradually appeared more comfortable on both ends of the floor. That was proven from his all-around impact in the convincing win over Denver on Sunday, and time and time again, Porter made significant plays in Cleveland's overtime win over Philadelphia on the road on Tuesday.
In the Denver game, Porter had an early rookie year career night, with 21 points, and made tons of other plays, as was displayed above, by Cavs Notes. He also followed up that incredible performance off the bench by his play in that Philly game, when he had 12 big points, to go with nine assists, three rebounds and a block.
Along with Darius Garland, who had 32 points in that win over the Sixers, when Philadelphia was roaring their way back in the fourth quarter and were right there in OT, Porter made huge plays. He was fearless on a tough shot over Joel Embiid at the rim with 54.1 seconds left in OT, and with a great pass to Allen for the winning basket in OT.
So, while he could seemingly remain on a two-way deal for definitely some time yet, given the flexibility, it's clear that Porter is a more than capable rotational contributor already for the Cavs.
It's not a certainty as it pertains to how his minutes could shake out when Mitchell gets back, and Ty Jerome for that matter, but it's nice to know an older prospect in Porter, who was initially a JUCO player, is more than ready to play.