Rockets end of year report card: Kevin Porter Jr.
By Jakob Love
The Houston Rockets have had their fair share of challenges this season, and it seems as if Kevin Porter Jr. has been unfairly labeled as the scapegoat for many of the team's issues. With this being his second year in the point guard experiment, many have dismissed it as a complete waste, arguing that he should not be a point guard at all.
However, I believe that this assessment is far too harsh, and that KPJ's stint as a point guard has been, to an extent, successful. It demonstrates that he can indeed be a starting point guard in the league, but perhaps not on a team like Houston.
Houston's roster already boasts a number of ball-dominant players like Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun, and Jabari Smith Jr. Fans are arguing that these players should be receiving more of his touches, and it's easy to see why.
Grading Kevin Porter Jr.'s second full season as point guard for the Houston Rockets
However, having a scoring point guard like KPJ may not be the ideal fit for this particular roster. The experiment with KPJ as a point guard has undoubtedly yielded some promising results, but it also highlights the need for a better-suited roster or a different role. But, we will get into that another time.
One of the most striking aspects of Kevin Porter Jr.'s game is his versatility. With the capacity to score from beyond the arc, attack the rim with his explosive athleticism, and create plays for his teammates, KPJ is a multifaceted talent that can impact the game in various ways. This season has shown that, even amid the challenges faced by the Rockets, he can shine and continue to develop as a player.
At just 22-years-old, Kevin Porter Jr. has already shown considerable growth and development in his game, despite being on a struggling Rockets team that finished in the bottom three of the NBA standings. It is important to remember that he is still extremely young and has ample room to grow and refine his skills.
Considering his noticeable improvements this season compared to last, it is exciting to think about what he could achieve in the coming years as he matures as a player.
One of the challenges faced by the young Rockets roster this season was the absence of experienced veterans to provide guidance and leadership. As a result, the team's young core, including KPJ, was left to figure things out largely on their own.
Despite this challenging situation, KPJ managed to make significant strides in his game, which is a testament to his resilience and determination to succeed.
With significant changes expected for the Houston Rockets this offseason, including a high lottery pick and over $60 million in cap space, the team's roster and dynamics are likely to be transformed. While KPJ is anticipated to remain a Rocket next season, it's crucial to consider how his role might evolve in the face of these changes.
One of the keys to KPJ's future success will be his ability to adapt to new roles and contribute in various ways on the court. With his talent and skill set, he can play meaningful minutes at positions 1-3, whether as a starting small forward or coming off the bench.
In the event that he transitions to a Sixth Man role, KPJ could be a strong contender for the Sixth Man of the Year award, providing valuable point guard minutes or playing as a wing.
As the Rockets look to bring in new talent this offseason, it is essential for KPJ to approach any changes with professionalism and a team-first mentality. Should his role shift to coming off the bench, he can still make a significant impact by playing 20-28 minutes a night and providing a scoring spark for the team.
By embracing the challenge and focusing on contributing in any way possible, KPJ can continue to grow as a player and help elevate the Rockets in the coming seasons.