Houston Rockets: Kevin Porter Jr and defensive pride
Porter had an unimpressive rookie showing on the defensive end, which is unsurprising for a 19 year old. His defensive rating of 115 points per 100 possessions is not inspiring but there are few underlying numbers that could portend a bright defensive future.
Porter posted a 1.9-percent steal percentage and a 1-percent block percentage in his rookie season. While those percentages appear minuscule, a 1.9-percent steal percentage was a top-50 mark in the NBA last season.
Even if Porter is not the next coming of Tony Allen, he has shown the ability to swipe a few extra possessions for his team with active hands and anticipation. However, his 1-percent block percentage shows a player that was a bit too lazy on closeouts.
Porter is a gifted athlete, with the size and length to contest shots and snag a few more blocks than he showed in his rookie season. Guards typically aren’t judged by their shot-blocking, but with the league taking more and more 3-pointers being able to contest and block shots as a perimeter player has never been more valuable.
Defense comes down to effort and if Porter’s past transgressions are any indication his effort and intensity can waiver. Stephen Silas and the Rockets coaching staff need to get Porter to take pride in his defense and convince him that he has the potential to be a difference-maker on that end.
The Rockets should be excited to have such a talented young player join their roster. Porter has his warts but the potential for a productive NBA player is there.
If the Rockets can get him to change his shot profile, draw more fouls, and commit on the defensive end, they’ll have themselves an outstanding player. In a year or two, the Cavaliers may feel that they’ve been hoodwinked because this trade has the potential to be an absolute steal for the Rockets.