Houston Offers Porter Jr. Much-Needed Fresh Start


In a noteworthy move by Houston Rockets GM Rafael Stone, Houston acquired former first-round selection Kevin Porter Jr. from the Cleveland Cavaliers late Thursday night. A super low-risk/high-reward opportunity, the Rockets might have just gotten a steal with their new young talent.

A Troubled Career

About a week before the transaction, Porter Jr.’s career seemingly arrived at a crossroads. A troubling report surfaced about an altercation he started. The team reportedly moved his locker without telling him, and subsequently replaced his spot with a new locker for recently-acquired Taurean Prince. Allegedly, Porter became outraged at the team for moving his belongings without asking and began yelling before he threw food across the room.

This wasn’t the first problematic situation KPJ was involved in either. Back in November 2020, he was arrested on a charge for improperly storing a firearm in his vehicle. These character issues were reportedly the reason Cleveland desired to move on from the budding 20-year-old, as well as why they only received a heavily protected second-round pick from Houston in return.

Flashes of Stardom

As the 30th selection in the 2019 NBA Draft, Porter Jr. was just getting started. While he hasn’t played a game yet this season, he certainly showed off his potential in Cleveland last year, averaging 10.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists on 44% shooting from the field. He also posted a three-point percentage of 33% and shot 72% from the stripe. On top of those numbers, KPJ also showcased insane athleticism on high-flying dunks and drives to the rim.

Notably, Porter Jr. modeled his game after his idol — former Rockets superstar James Harden — which explains why he’s so great at scoring in isolation. Standing at 6-foot-4, KPJ plays small forward and shooting guard. Both are positions the roster should improve upon if they intend to trade away Eric Gordon, Victor Oladipo or Danuel House Jr. for assets. In short, Porter Jr. could be a perfect fit in Houston as the bright flashes of potential are there.

He just has to get his headspace right first.

Road to Redemption

If any team can help KPJ get back onto the right track, it’s Houston. The veterans like John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins aboard, this should be able to help his maturity issues in the locker room. In addition to veteran players, assistant coach John Lucas is a perfect candidate to work with the young talent. Lucas is well-respected for helping troubled players get their careers back on track, and he’ll hopefully do the same with KPJ.

Porter Jr. couldn’t have landed in a better situation for his personal life. Even if he never plays a minute for the Rockets, the trade will be worth it if the organization provides the stability and help he needs.

Overall, the move is indicative of the youth movement springing up in the Toyota Center. KPJ has tremendous upside as a player and person in the coming years. If everything goes right, the Rockets may have just found a true gem as they enter an imminent rebuilding phase.

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