Houston Rockets: Thing to look for in Kevin Porter’s debut #1: Competing on defense
The most important thing for any young player is for them to compete on defense. As mentioned before, young players usually haven’t had to develop a lot of fundamental skills because their overwhelming talent bails them out at the youth level.
How much does your defensive intensity or positioning really matter when you’re bigger, faster, and stronger than your opponent? Especially for young perimeter players who are used to being the focal point on offense, their defensive fundamentals seriously lag behind.
Porter has posted poor defensive metrics in the pros and if he wants to carve out a role quickly he’ll need to bring it on the defensive side. The Rockets don’t need him to be a lockdown defender, they just need him to compete each and every possession.
When the Rockets acquired Porter they knew they would have to suffer through some of his growing pains. However, the coaching staff won’t be so lenient with Porter’s mistakes if he isn’t playing hard on defense.
Keep an eye out on Porter’s defensive effort and not his defensive output. In the early going, he’ll be bad on defense but it’s important that he gives it his all. If he looks lackadaisical on defense, expect his minutes to dwindle, even if he’s scoring in bunches.