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Youth Report: Could a changing of the guard be on the horizon?

Kevin Porter Jr. continues to turn heads

Houston Rockets v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

Here is the youth report for the week of December 9th through 15th.

Player of the week: Kevin Porter Jr.

Averages this week: 13.3 points, 2.3 assists, 1.5 rebounds, 50 FG%, 47.1 3P%, 61.9 TS% in four games

Things are starting to come together for Porter Jr., who shot 50 percent from the floor and a true shooting percentage over 60 percent for the second straight week.

Player of the week honors were a lock for him after his breakout performance against the Houston Rockets. He poured in 24 points, including 6 for 9 shooting from behind the arc. Plus he also played some very solid defense without fouling, even though Harden made almost all of his shots.

Harden can do that against anybody, but for Porter Jr. to stay with him, get a quality contest and not be baited into fouls was a positive sign. Especially when you consider his proclivity to foul early in his career.

It’s not hard to see the potential for Porter Jr. on both ends of the floor. He has great size for a guard and has consistently competed on that end of the floor this season. Porter Jr. leads the team in deflections per 36 minutes this month with 3.3.

If this play continues it’s not hard to envision him starting on the wing at some point this season.

Darius Garland

Averages this week: 9.5 points, 3.3 assists, 2.5 rebounds, 39.5 FG%, 40 3P%, 50 TS% in four games

The sustained scoring outbursts aren’t there yet for Garland. We haven’t seen many high watermark performances from him. at least for an entire game. There have been stretches of assertiveness, like the second quarter against the Bucks. But it seems like he can get lost in the shuffle with so many guys looking to get their own shots.

The vision is there as a passer, but the execution has been off. There’s glimpses of dynamic shooting from the outside, but other times he is left standing around.

On the plus side, he has seemed less reliant on his ineffective floater as of late. Attempting to actually get to the rim and deceive defenders. While he isn’t finishing at an acceptable rate yet, this is a more likely avenue towards effectiveness than the push shots we saw to start the year.

Collin Sexton

Averages this week: 15.5 points, 2.3 assists, 2.3 rebounds, 45.5 FG%, 10 3P%, 51.4 TS% in four games

Another week of solid scoring outbursts, but limited efficiency and few contributions outside of volume shooting.

It’s hard to ignore that this season has been a regression for Sexton. The outside shot appears to be regressing to what he has been outside of his hot second half of last season. While it may settle around 35 to 36 percent, hopes of him being a sharpshooter from range have taken a serious hit.

His willingness to take threes has also decreased this season. With his three point rate at just 22.2 percent.

Perhaps being forced to guard up a position or two has taken a toll on his energy on the offensive end. With Sexton being put in a difficult position on offense and the awkwardness of the two point guard lineup, it’s not hard to see an eventual split coming.

While Sexton doesn’t have the passing vision of Clarkson (yes that’s tough to type), him in the Clarkson role off the bench could benefit both he and the team. It’ll allow him to defend his position, simplify his game as a scorer and capitalize against second units. It could also help prevent Garland standing around at times and give him more reps running the offense.

Of course the big hurdles are moving Clarkson to open up those minutes, and finding a suitable replacement at shooting guard. If Kevin Porter Jr. continues to develop and produce at this rate, that’s one option. Or the team could slide Cedi Osman to shooting guard and play Alfonso McKinnie or Dylan Windler at the small forward position, assuming Windler gets healthy at some point.

Cedi Osman

Averages this week: 6.8 points, 2.8 assists, 2.3 rebounds, 31.3 FG%, 31.6 3P%, 52.2 TS% in four games

It was an atrocious week shooting the basketball for Osman. Like Sexton, it’s fairly obvious that Osman’s future belongs with the second unit. Potentially bringing some play making, outside shooting and energy to that unit. But as is the case with both Sexton and Osman, finding a viable replacement is the real problem.

Both are playing in roles larger than their skill-sets and while they can rise to the occasion at times, what separates starters from rotation players is consistency.

For those that value RPM, Osman is fifth in DRPM among small forwards. The metric isn’t really my cup of tea and anybody that is actually familiar with it will tell you to ignore the first batch or two of numbers until the sample size is larger.

He’s made some strides defensively, has active hands and competes on that end. But can still be burned by more skilled wings and occasionally get lost off ball. Indicators that he likely would be more productive with the second unit once the Cavs fill the gap with a true starting small forward.

The absence of another viable player at his position likely contributes to Osman having a team-best on/off court differential with +8.5. He’s the only starter who’s numbers in that category have survived the last month of Kevin Love checking out.

Stats as of Dec. 16 before the Cavs played the Raptors