It's suboptimal that the Cleveland Cavaliers will be without Darius Garland for multiple weeks still, as he's going be sidelined with a fractured jaw of which he sustained last week. That ailment for Garland and Evan Mobley's extended absence because of arthroscopic knee surgery really hurts.
That being said, regarding Cleveland's key playmakers, the team should be more than pleased with how Craig Porter Jr. has played for them this season, and sans Garland, Porter will have more opportunities. Cleveland has benefited from how the rookie has played this season when he's been in there, and as he gets more experience with the Cavaliers, he's gotten more and more comfortable.
Furthermore, with each passing game, it seems that the Cavs should know what they're receiving from Porter when he's in games in meaningful minutes. For an undrafted rookie that's one of Cleveland's players on two-way contracts, that's so impressive.
The Cavs should know what they're getting, for the most part, from Porter, and he keeps making plays.
When his number has been called, Porter has done a more than admirable job this season for Cleveland.
Coming into the season, it couldn't have been anticipated that he'd have as much meaningful playing time as he's had to this point. But with injuries at various points, and now with Darius Garland's situation in being out for still multiple weeks with a fractured jaw, Porter has been thrust into game action a fair amount already.
The rookie from Wichita State has more than held his own on most occasions when he's had legitimate minutes, and he's looked more comfortable as the season has progressed.
On the campaign, Porter has had 6.8 points, 3.2 assists and 2.1 rebounds per contest, in what's amounted to 18 appearances. He's played 15.4 minutes per game thus far, and has had three spot starts.
In instances where he's had extended run due to injuries, Porter did have five games where he had double digit points, though, and in Cleveland's last game, Porter was a bright spot in Cleveland's loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. In a game where Donovan Mitchell was absent again on Thursday due to illness, Porter had 11 assists in a spot start, to just two turnovers. He nearly broke Cleveland's rookie for assists in a single game by undrafted rookie players; Donald Sloan had that franchise record with 14 back in 2012, and Matthew Dellavedova came close.
While the injury bug has factored into the expanded run for Porter at points so far this season, even as a two-way guy, it's clear that the Wine and Gold can trust him to be a solid ball-mover, and his chemistry has gradually improved with his teammates. Additionally, Porter's perimeter defense, his driving prowess and pick-and-roll capabilities have all led to him making quite an impact for Cleveland.
Though one couldn't blame Cleveland for maybe bringing in a lead guard via free agency as a veteran, or perhaps via trade, such as rumored potential target Davion Mitchell, it's at least good to know Porter is a quality depth piece. And with Ty Jerome barely playing thus far this season, and it seeming more and more far-fetched Ricky Rubio plays again with the Cavaliers, it's great that in Porter, Cleveland knows for the most part, what he can give them.
Porter could maybe end up as a player with a standard contract eventually. Either way, he's a heck of a prospect for the Wine and Gold to have in their organization, even as an older rookie at 23.