Houston Rockets play-in need #3: Kevin Porter Jr. takes the next step
One of the few good things about a bad season is that you can take chances on players that other teams have given up on and, in turn, give those players plenty of playing time. That was the case for Kevin Porter Jr. last year. The converted shooting guard to small forward took the G-League by storm after the Rockets traded a heavily protected second-round pick to the Cavaliers for him.
Porter Jr. made the switch to point guard during his time with Rio Grande Valley Vipers and did not disappoint. In a long and disastrous season, Porter Jr was one of the few highlights. However, the pinnacle for the Rockets and Porter Jr. was his 50 points 11 assist gem against the eventual NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks. Porter Jr. will need to take the next step for this Rockets team to have any chance at the tenth seed.
Last year, Porter Jr. had some great games but he also had games where he struggled mightily. It's no surprise that Porter Jr. struggled at times, but it means there is plenty of work to do. Remember, he was a second-year player would who missed the entirety of the first half.
Porter Jr has proven that he's capable of offensive outbursts, as his 50 point game attests to, but the next step for Porter Jr. will be becoming an efficient shooter and a consistent defender. Last season he only shot 31.1-percent from 3-point range and 42.5-percent from the field. If he can raise his 3-point shooting to 35-percent and his field goal percentage to 45-percent he will go from a good scorer to a dynamic scorer. The difference between averaging 20 points a game and 15 points a game is consistency, not talent.