Rockets 2022-2023 Player Preview: Kevin Porter Jr.

Welcome to one of the most controversial Houston Rockets Preliminary Players of the Season: Kevin Porter Jr.

The Porter debate tends to boil down to these things:

  1. personal maturity
  2. Overlap of skills with Galen Green
  3. Whether his contract will be extended
  4. How much should be paid when extending his contract
  5. flaws in his game

There are a few things that aren’t mentioned much:

  • cleverness
  • level of development for age

Let’s review the controversial items first.

  1. personal maturity Yes, there have been previous incidents with Kevin Porter Jr., which tend to revolve around emotional outbursts. It’s important to remember that all of this was unfortunate, but nothing violent (think a bowl of mashed potatoes or anything violent…), dangerous, abusive, or criminal. More than that kind of thing that offends our concept of proper behavior as an athlete. My position is that young people are growing up, and most of these problems are centered around caring too much, rather than not getting enough. I am not particularly worried.
  2. Overlapping skills Are we still investing in traditional office roles or not? Did Harden break that mold for good or not? If we really believe in largely centerless basketball, like Backcourt, Wing, Big, then what exactly is the problem with two scoring, distributing, explosives, guards who can play on or off the ball? Neither Porter nor Green really need a base guard to set them up, and if they need to, well, that’s what Alperen Sengun can do from a high position. I’ll admit it pays to have specialist players around, strong defense, great rebounding or first attack regulator, but with Porter, that wasn’t what he was meant to do anyway.
  3. Whether Porter Jr’s contract will be extended. That’s a question, do I want to risk locking up money now, or risk locking in a lot more money, in the off-season when other teams have so much money. A player who in the traditional reference can play PG / SG / SF with good defense and shooting, is considered valuable. Look at how much money the player got, which is inferior in my estimation, like Tyler Herro. If you don’t think the best 3-point shooter in the 2021-22 NBA gets a good showing, I don’t know what to tell you.
  4. how much should I pay. If there’s a $25 million-a-season deal or less available now, the Rockets should do it, in my opinion. It will look cheap in a year or so. The NBA’s mid-level exception is likely headed for $15 million. Expecting an entry-level player, who could reasonably attack or score off the ball to play for reserve position money, the $10 million many Rockets fans have been talking about, seems simply ridiculous to me. If Porter is an RFA, I can’t imagine bids for less than $20-25 million, barring an implosion of some sort, or a serious injury. If you think he’s better than Evan Fournier than Evan Fournier, the figure is north of $20 million.
  5. flaws in his game. The biggest drawback is the inability to finish stably at the edge. Porter needs to find a reliable attack in the basket, and stick with it in order to succeed, because he has the handle to get there, unlike most players. KPJ has the talent to try all kinds of finishes, but none of them are at the junior level in the NBA. He must also see if James Harden and DeMar DeRozan will accept him into their body school, where he can learn how to draw a productive connection while taking pictures. That’s the only really scary drawback, other than not being a type 1 passer, despite averaging 7.1 passes per 36. It can also lower turnover, but a better team, more mature, will probably lower their turnover by 1 per game, from the point of view of theoretical. He also appears to be struggling with injuries, but it’s unclear how much by the Rockets making sure he gets plenty of recovery time.

Here are the strengths of Porter for me:

cleverness Porter is currently the Rockets “PG”. It’s big enough, and has enough game, to be “SF”. He can play ball without a problem. 7 passes per 36 is no joke either.

defense Porter only appears to show one or two skills at a time. Maybe that’s a flaw, but let’s see if he can put all the skills he has together at the same time. Still only 22 years old, he made a change of position amid yet another turmoil in his career. KPJ’s defense varied between ‘adequate’ and ‘outstanding’. A season that does everything else, keeping the defense at a “good” level would suffice.

3pt snapshot. Elite. Top 48.2% NBA – Better than every NBA player who is a reasonable starter with real volume in picking up and shooting three points. Better than Trae Young, Anfernee Simons, Seth Curry, whatever. Not much, but did you know it was good?


What do I do?

  • 78%

    Extend now if you can.

    (77 votes)

  • 6%

    Don’t stretch now.

    (6 votes)

  • 9%

    Match RFA Offers.

    (9 votes)

  • 1%

    Does not match RFA offers.

    (1 vote)

  • 4%

    Keep hesitating.

    (4 votes)

98 votes total

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