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Kevin Porter Jr. averaged 9.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists during his lone season at USC. 

By Emily Caron
June 20, 2019

USC shooting guard Kevin Porter Jr. is headed to the Cleveland Cavaliers with the No. 30 pick in the 2019 NBA draft, the final selection of the first round.

The pick originally belonged to the Milwaukee Bucks, who reportedly traded it to the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night. The Pistons then reportedly sent it to Cleveland on draft night.

The 6'6" guard averaged 9.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists on 47.1% shooting from the field during his freshman campaign, despite only appearing in 21 games for the Trojans during his sole collegiate season due to a nagging quad injury and off the court issues.

Porter, a former five-star recruit, was suspended indefinitely for a "personal conduct" issue prior to USC's game against Oregon on Jan. 13. He returned to the floor and dropped 14 points on Jan. 24 during the Trojans 80–57 win over Arizona.

USC's season ended with a 78–75 loss to Washington in the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals. Porter Jr. dropped 17 points, nabbed six boards, two steals and made one block in his final appearance for the Trojans. In his first three games, Porter averaged 23 minutes per game, 13.7 points per game and 3.7 boards while shooting 61.5% from the field and 33.3% from the three. 

SI NBA draft expert Jeremy Woo’s breakdown: There is a wide variance of opinions around the NBA as to where exactly drafting Porter becomes worth the risk, but his rare gifts as an athlete and creative scorer are hard to find. The concerns teams have about him primarily center on his maturity level after a tumultuous year at USC. But there’s a school of thought that if you can insulate him on a team with veterans and an established culture, you might be able to bring him along slowly and turn him into a special player. There’s bust potential here, particularly given it was something of a lost year in college, but Porter is capable of things most people simply cannot do with the ball in his hands. He should only be allowed to slip so far.

Woo's Grade: A-

Porter Jr.’s precipitous fall ended here, with Cleveland coming in to get this pick from Detroit. Porter fell in the draft due in large part to background concerns, but he’s extremely talented and if he puts it together, could deliver outstanding value. The Cavs were thought to have real interest in him, and after passing at No. 26, they came back in to grab him. The fit here could be strong, and playing for John Beilein could be extremely beneficial for Porter’s long-term prospects.

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