3 reasons the Rockets were smart in trading for Kevin Porter Jr.
3. The Rockets would be able to help with his off-court issues
Make no mistake, Porter has had legitimate off the court issues, dating back to his lone year at USC, in which he was suspended due to personal reasons. KPJ was nearly kicked off the team because of said personal reasons, as he feuded with Trojans coach Andy Enfield.
Porter also got into legal troubles recently, as he was involved in a car accident, which resulted in him being arrested when it was discovered that he had a loaded .45 caliber handgun and marijuana. All in all, Porter was charged with improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, which was a felony, failure to control a motor vehicle, and misdemeanor possession of marijuana (the latter two being a misdemeanor).
All of the charges were eventually dropped, but Porter raised additional concern when he recently posted a suicidal Instagram post.
Rockets coach John Lucas has been known to work best with players who have a checkered past and have had off-the-court struggles, as he’s helped tons of athletes and even coaches who needed to be steered in the right path, including the following:
- Billy Gillispie
- Larry Eustachy
- Rod Strickland
- Michael Beasley
- Tyrann Mathieu
- JaMarcus Russell
- Daryl Strawberry
- Dexter Manley
- Andray Blatche
- Mike Rice
If there is any team that is best able to cope with a troubled, young player with the talent of Porter Jr, it’s definitely the Rockets, because of Lucas, who has explained how he reasons with players in such situations.
“We got to tell them, ‘You got to get gut-level honest with yourself. That’s any athlete. Unless you hit them over the head with a 2×4, not a lot of us can get gut-level honest with ourselves.”
Lucas’ background in player development stems from his own battles with drug and alcohol addiction as a player, which allows him to get even closer with people who face struggles with similar demons, and his comments on the matter helps explain why.
“When I know I’m having a problem is when I can’t change my behavior to meet my goals. When I change my goals to meet my behavior, I got a serious problem. The hardest thing for an athlete is breaking the denial of having a problem.
I hope that anybody that gets in that situation gets the gift of desperation. It’s a form of having a true acceptance of who you are, shortcomings and all.
You got to go on a journey to find yourself. And the only way to go on a journey to find yourself is someone has to walk you through that journey who has been there before. They know the fear, the pain, the situations that baffle the person that is going through it now.”
With Lucas in the fold, the Houston Rockets make for the perfect environment to help Porter through his battles off the court, and figure to be able to unveil the talent that he flashed as a rookie. Not to mention some of the lessons he’s already learned through his own mistakes.
Next: No. 2