Kevin Porter Jr. is a player the Cavs started to love as the draft process kicked off and unfolded. And when the draft rolled around, the team went out and spent a record amount of money to get the No. 30 overall pick and take him. So what does his best case/worst case scenario look like for next season?
Chris Manning (@cwmwrites): Porter Jr. comes in and flourishes under John Beilein. While he struggles on defense, and has to be eased into the NBA, Beilein’s offense brings the best out of Porter Jr. and allows him to find a niche as a rookie. By the end of the year, he looks like a rotation piece going forward and has shown enough potential on the defensive end to look he can something like a two-way player, or more realistically, trending in the right direction. Twenty or so minutes a game for him by the end the year feels right if he looks like he can hang.
Justin Rowan (@cavsanada): The best case scenario to me is that the Cavs are able to bring him along slowly to start the year and get him comfortable within the system. Then, at some point this season if/when Jordan Clarkson is moved, he steps into that role as a scorer. As a rookie, that will almost certainly be a downgrade, but the hope would be that Porter Jr. can develop into a playmaking wing with defensive upside. He has all the tools to be a good defensive player, but that hasn’t translated to this point. Having Porter Jr. earn his minutes by asking him to play high-energy minutes off the bench with effort defensively could pay off in the long run.
David Zavac (@DavidZavac): To be honest I have no idea. It’s really hard for me to see rotation spot for him right away with some of the veterans on the team. Will he spend time in Canton? Will he be in the rotation right away? If he really forces his way into playing time on a consistent basis, that might be the best case scenario. We’ll see how healthy he is coming into camp and how ready to compete he is. The best case scenario might be anonymous Cavs folks raving about him in practice and what-not, too. Another plus would be his defensive instincts turn out to be better than advertised.
CM: For whatever reason, Porter Jr. struggles to acclimate in Cleveland and doesn’t mesh with Beilein. While there are some really intriguing moments, he doesn’t totally settle in on either end of the floor and can’t be played consistent minutes as a result. In this scenario, Dylan Windler outpaces him pretty clearly. As a result, he spends some time in the G-League to get extra seasoning, but it doesn’t totally work and he ends the year as mystery that the Cavs have to project as they plan for 2020 and beyond.
JR: That there just aren’t minutes available and Porter Jr. tries to be the offense, rather than a part of it. It’s still not clear whether or not his outside shooting will translate and if he struggles from deep while not showing any flashes on the defensive end it’ll make for a rough rookie season. He’s a high upside player with a lot of talent, but it didn’t translate at USC and his learning curve to make an impact in the NBA will be steep.
DZ: He struggles to stay healthy or stand out in a full, but not particularly impressive, backcourt. Beilein over-utilizes the vets. The hitch in Porter’s jump shots is magnified in a faster league with a deeper three point line. He goes down to Canton and scores a lot but doesn’t do it efficiently. He gets less than 40 NBA games under his belt, and we’re left wondering what skills he has or doesn’t have.