HOUSTON — The Houston Rockets took a chance on Kevin Porter Jr. during a turbulent time in his career.
The Rockets acquired Porter in January of 2021 after a string of incidents prematurely ended his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers. And a year later, Porter has seen significant growth on and off the court.
His most noteworthy on-court development took place during his first season as a full-time point guard. Houston started Porter at the position for 61 games during the 2021-22 campaign. And despite a slow start, Porter has made a valid case as to why he should be the team's starting point guard for the future.
Porter's experiment as a guard began during his lone tenure playing for the Rockets' G League affiliate team, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. He played 15 games at the position in the Orlando bubble and developed chemistry with Anthony Lamb.
Lamb has witnessed the continuous growth in Porter's game since February of 2021 and believes his former G League teammate is an All-Star talent.
"He is an unbelievable talent," Lamb said at the Vipers' first-ever Basketball Champ Camp on June 20. "The things he can do with the basketball are unmatched. Being able to see the success he has had and his development as a person and basketball player has been awesome."
Eleven games into the season, Porter stated the mental aspect of the game is what led to his early struggles. He began the year averaging 4.5 turnovers. But once he stopped emphasizing the title "point guard" — Porter began to find his niche.
In the 22 games played post-All-Star break, Porter would go on to average 19.0 points on 43.5 percent shooting from the field, 6.1 assists and a steal. His turnovers declined to 2.5 per game.
"I am super happy for his success, and I know he is going to keep it going. Pretty soon, I believe he is going to be an All-Star — and even more than that. I am happy for him. And I am looking forward to seeing him keep developing."
Less thinking and the ability to play free within coach Stephen Silas' system played a significant reason in Porter's evolution as a point guard during the latter half of the season.
Porter's play to close out the year resembled the performance that awarded him All-NBA G League First Team honors, along with scoring and assists titles. In addition to the time spent together in the G League, Lamb has also played 26 games as Porter's teammate in Houston.
You can follow Coty Davis on Twitter @CotyDavis_24
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