Has Houston Found Their Shooting Guard of the Future?


The Houston Rockets have been through a wild season.

There have been many personnel changes within the roster and coaching staff. Stephen Silas and Rafael Stone have had their fair share of work cut out for them. The biggest positive from this offseason has been the signing of Christian Wood; the steal of the offseason and new face of the franchise.

With the loss of James Harden and uncertainty of Victor Oladipo’s future, the shooting guard position still remains a question mark. Houston has possibly found a solution with the recent acquisition of Kevin Porter Jr.

Who is Kevin Porter Jr.?

The 6’4” shooting guard out of USC was selected with 30th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, a pick that had already been traded to Detroit and then subsequently the same to Cleveland. His scoring prowess is what had garnered the attention of NBA teams and his potential to be even better. As a rookie, he averaged 10.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists.

After have a falling out with Cavaliers’ management, they scrambled to get rid of him and were successful in sending him to Houston. The Rockets were able to obtain KPJ from the Cavs for peanuts, only surrendering a heavily protected second-round pick.

G-League Performance

Being a south paw and similar in height, KPJ (6’4”) has flashed a playing style reminiscent of James Harden (6’5”). Upon his arrival, he was relegated to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, and showcased himself as the best player in the G-League.

He led the league in scoring and assists at 24.1 and 7.2 per game, respectively, while shooting 44.8% from the field and 32.0% from three. KPJ also tallied 27 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds, boasting the first triple-double of the G-League season.

His play is Harden-esque with step-back jumpers and his ability to make plays for others. Porter clearly showed he’s too good for the G-League, but has made strides at the next level since his promotion.

NBA Debut

Upon his true arrival to Houston, the Rockets had lost 13 consecutive games and ranked 14th in the Western Conference. Since KPJ’s Rocket debut, they’ve lost all three games, but he’s glimpsed a taste of what is to come.

In the three games, he’s averaging 17.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 8.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. The first two games are the most notable. In his Rockets debut, he tallied 13 points, 10 assists (career high), five rebounds and three steals. In his second game, he dropped 27 points along with eight assists, three rebounds, two steals and a block.

His 27 points is the most by a player under the age of 21 in Rockets history. He still has plenty of opportunities during the second half of this season to top that.

The ceiling is limitless for Kevin Porter Jr. He has an array of offensive skills while having the potential to be a stout defender. Even if Victor Oladipo’s services are relieved, this is great insurance to rely on filling that void.

It also gives Houston flexibility to acquire another position like a power forward (Aaron Gordon?) in return. It is astounding how KPJ cannot even legally drink alcohol but has a very polished game already in his sophomore season. The Rockets have a good chance to create a one-two punch of Porter Jr. and Christian Wood.

In acquiring both of these steals, it goes to show the savviness of first-year general manager, Rafael Stone– and that there will be plenty of more underrated moves to come.

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About Corey Randall

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