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Houston Rockets: How Kevin Porter Jr. can get to the next level

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - FEBRUARY 28: Kevin Porter Jr. #4 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts against the New Orleans Pelicans during the second half at the Smoothie King Center on February 28, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - FEBRUARY 28: Kevin Porter Jr. #4 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts against the New Orleans Pelicans during the second half at the Smoothie King Center on February 28, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
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Houston Rockets
Kevin Porter Jr. #4 of the Cleveland Cavaliers (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Houston Rockets: Kevin Porter Jr needs to get to the line

For a player that was as adept at getting to the rim and finishing, Porter did not rack up the free throw totals one would expect. His free throw attempt rate of 24-percent was below the league average of 26-percent.

Almost every elite offensive player feasts on a steady diet of free throws and the area of the court where players get to the line the most easily is right at the rim. If Porter becomes more aggressive attacking the rim by passing up open mid-range jumpers he should see his free throw rate balloon to well above league average.

It’s difficult for young players, used to physically overpowering amateur opponents, to seek contact for the sake of contact but it’s a skill that all elite scorers possess. Porter needs to get uncomfortable, take his lumps, and then take his free throws if he wants to become the best version of himself.

Unlike his shot chart, this is a skill that needs to be worked on in practice and in the offseason because simply rumbling towards the rim is not a foolproof way to get to the line, although it certainly helps. Porter will need to master the skill of drawing fouls but he has as good a base as anyone to be able to add it to his game.

Basketball is not simply an offensive game and getting talented young offensive players to buy in on defense has been a thorn in head coaches’ side since James Naismith nailed a broken peach basket to a ten-foot pole. Stephen Silas needs to get Porter to improve on defense if he wants him to become a true NBA quality starter.

Next: Take pride in his defense

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