After a turbulent start to the season, Kevin Porter Jr. will find himself back in the NBA. Rockets head coach Stephen Silas announced Thursday afternoon that the team would recall Porter Jr. for the second half of the season. Kelly Iko of The Athletic first reported the news.
The 2020-21 season has been a rollercoaster for Porter Jr. After a locker room outburst during his time with the Cavaliers, Cleveland promptly traded him to the Rockets for a second-round pick. The Rockets then designated Porter Jr. to their G-League team, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
In the 9 games so far this season, Porter Jr. has excelled with the team. Porter Jr. is averaging 23.7 points, 7.4 assists, and 5.3 rebounds. He continues to be a prolific, on-ball shot creator. 60 of Porter Jr.’s 78 made field goals this season have been unassisted. His pure athleticism and explosion out of the pick and roll have generated many easy shots in and around the basket. He is shooting an outstanding 64.8% from inside the restricted area.
Porter Jr.’s Defense and Projected Role with the Rockets
Porter Jr. has made great strides on the defensive end as well. His defensive rating ranks 4th on the team (min. 20 mins per game). With 14 steals and 4 blocks through 9 games, his defense projects well on the NBA level. While his jump shot is a work in progress, the former first-round pick has demonstrated that his talent warrants a roster spot in the league.
The Rockets have indicated that they intend to use Porter Jr. as a point guard once he joins the team in Houston. This makes sense, as Porter Jr’s crafty playmaking is better suited for an on-ball role. Porter Jr. will likely assume a backup role behind current Rockets point guard John Wall.