Houston Rockets: Kevin Porter’s rising star
That being said, his 25 game run with the Rockets has seen him grow considerably from the time he spent in Cleveland last season and bodes well for his future. To fully capture Porter’s growth in year two of his career his rookie season has to be taken into context.
In 50 games for the Cavaliers, Porter came off the bench 47 times and averaged 10 points and 2.2 assists in 23.2 minutes per game on 44.2-percent shooting and 33.5-percent shooting from 3-point range. Porter, largely against second units, posted solid efficiency numbers for a rookie but was not tasked with much playmaking responsibility.
He was primarily used as a secondary option in Cleveland’s offense as his 20.5-percent usage rate can attest to. On top of that, 44.4-percent of his 2-point and 75.5-percent of his 3-point field goals were assisted.
Flashforward to 2021, Porter has started 22 of 25 games and averaged 16.6 points and 6.4 assists in 32.5 minutes on 42.4-percent shooting and 30.8-percent from 3-point range. While Porter’s shooting efficiency has dipped it has been slight and with an uptick in his responsibilities and against largely starting units.
Not to mention Porter has been tasked with creating a far larger share of his own offense. Only 18.6-percent of his 2-point field goals and 39.6-percent of his 3-point field goals have been assisted while in Houston.
The growth in his passing cannot be understated either. His assist percentage has grown from 13.9-percent in Cleveland to 31.3-percent with the Rockets and that’s with his turnover percentage only marginally growing from 16.7-percent to 18.4-percent.
His assist percentage is nearly identical to Ben Simmons and he even sports a better turnover percentage. Is he Chris Paul or James Harden as a passer? No, but at 21-years-old he’s showing that he could be a premier playmaker in his prime.
Porter has been thrust into a much more difficult role and has largely held the shooting efficiency he posted last season, which is no small feat. He’ll need to improve his defense substantially and the tightness on his handle to round out his game, but it’s his scoring that offers the most room for improvement and the best bet for him to reach his upside.