Future Watch: Kevin Porter Jr. Basketball Cards, Houston Rockets

Future Watch: Kevin Porter Jr. Basketball Cards, Houston RocketsPorter has long been synonymous with the word “promise”. From abbreviated stints in college and then the NBA (with the Cleveland Cavaliers), to his new home in Houston where he is finally reaching  his vaunted upside, Porter is living up to the comparisons of a “young James Harden” in the very jersey in which The Beard grew his legend in the 2010s.

Porter inherited athleticism from his father,  Kevin Porter Sr. who was a talented multi-sport scholastic athlete in Seattle. Unfortunately, the senior Porter was tragically and heroically killed by gun violence trying to save an assault victim when his son was only four years old.

On the court, Porter showed great promise but had a couple stumbles in his young career, including suspension and injury issues at USC and a failure to be acclimated into the Cavs’ system. In between, however, Porter flashed incredible all-around guard skills en route to leading his team to the state championship game in 2018 and earning the status of 2018 Washington Mr. Basketball.

An up-and-down NCAA season caused Porter to fall out of the Top Ten slot in the 2019 NBA Draft that his skills warranted. Cleveland pounced, flipping four future second-round picks and cash considerations to Detroit for the rights to select Porter at the end of the first round.

With Porter’s new team wedded to a “Faberge egg” strategy of bringing him along slowly, momentum was difficult to build; but a 24-point outburst on December 12, 2019 against his future team, the Rockets and one of his role models in Harden was noteworthy. Still, a muddled rotation restricted Porter’s opportunities, but the ascension of JB Bickerstaff as head coach on February 19, 2020 seemed to promise more stability for the team’s young players.

Right on cue, five days later, Porter produced his signature game in a Cavaliers jersey, posting 30 points and eight rebounds against Miami. But Porter proved to be one of the young players cast adrift in a COVID-19 world and without the structure provided by a basketball season his fit with the team was deemed irretrievable by Cleveland management.

With no leverage, the team retrieved only a token return for Porter when he was dealt on January 21, 2021. Skeptics waited for Porter to flounder on a collapsing Rocket squad, but he has averaged 15.4 points per game, with six 20-plus point efforts in 15 games. He also carried a with 6.3 assists per game average, indicating a bright future as both a scorer and a playmaker.

Kevin Porter Jr. is well on his way to proving that he can thrive at the highest levels in the NBA with the right organizational support around him. Collectors who picked up his rookies in 2019-20 now have cards from 2020-21 products, including Certified, to pursue while awaiting his first Houston Rockets cards.

Future Watch: Kevin Porter Jr. Basketball Cards, Houston Rockets – Stats

Per Game Table
Season Age Tm Lg Pos G GS MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% 2P 2PA 2P% eFG% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
2020-21 19 OKC NBA PF 29 12 23.3 2.5 8.0 .315 1.1 4.2 .260 1.4 3.8 .376 .384 0.7 0.8 .826 0.7 3.9 4.7 2.0 0.5 1.0 1.7 1.0 6.8
Career NBA 29 12 23.3 2.5 8.0 .315 1.1 4.2 .260 1.4 3.8 .376 .384 0.7 0.8 .826 0.7 3.9 4.7 2.0 0.5 1.0 1.7 1.0 6.8
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/5/2021.

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Rick Morris