The Houston Rockets’ decision to run their offense through Kevin Porter Jr. and bestow him as the point guard was a gamble. Porter’s resume at the position was a partial G-League season, where his usage was sky-high, and 26 NBA games where he played the position intermittently. Whether the gamble paid off is a real question, but what can’t be denied is that Porter showed real growth as a player.
After a very rough start to the season, Porter turned his season around in a promising fashion. If we break his season into thirds, we can see how Porter grew on the offensive end.
To put it politely, Porter was an absolute mess over his first 20 games. In a high-usage role, his inability to pass or shoot undoubtedly tanked the Rockets' offense. Over his next 20 games, he lowered his usage and became a more efficient player. While the results weren’t sublime, going from a 91 offensive rating to 107 is like going from the depths of hell to the waiting list to purgatory.
Porter’s final 21 games were extremely promising. He bumped his usage back, maintained a similar level of efficiency, and still trimmed his turnovers. His growth as a passer was especially important to his chances of being a lead ball handler in some capacity, but it was his 3-point shot that was most crucial to his bottom line.
Porter’s third season in the NBA was his best yet, but it also coincided with his best 3-point shooting season to date. He posted career bests in offensive rating, offensive win shares, and offensive box plus/minus on the back of 37.5% shooting from 3-point range on 6.8 attempts per game.
If Kevin Porter Jr. is going to continue to grow into a starting caliber point guard, his 3-point shot is going to need to be real. The question is, was the 2021-22 season a blip, or was it real?