The James Harden trade has put the Rockets in shambles over the past two months. The team lost 20 games in a row and were riddled with injuries throughout that stretch. I think everyone is aware that Houston will not be making the playoffs after this season. Despite the abnormal circumstances, the team seems to have a great future in front of them.
In the Rockets’ season, they were able to acquire Kevin Porter Jr in the Harden trade. After not playing a game with the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, Porter Jr had a new opportunity to shine in a new home in Texas. The Rockets sent Porter to the G League Bubble for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. In his 15 games played, Porter was the leading scorer in the bubble, torching defenders with his skillset and playmaking ability.
Porter averaged 24.1 points per game on 45% shooting from the floor. It’s honestly mind-blowing considering that he didn’t win the G League MVP Award. To many insiders, Porter brought a lot of flavor in the G League bubble. He went into each game and proved that he was capable of competing at a high level.
One of Porter’s most notable games is his triple-double performance against the Erie Bayhawks. The rise of Porter in the G League drew a lot of attention from the NBA. As the Rockets were in the midst of their losing streak, they called Porter back from the G League.
Porter’s time with Houston has been a work in progress. As the Rockets continued to struggle, he quickly became the team’s number one option. Looking into his first game against the Utah Jazz, although Porter had a great scoring performance with 27 points, it was also impressive to watch him take over as a primary playmaker. Porter did a great job of running pick-and-roll action with his teammates to get them easy looks. The ability to find a connection with his teammates on the floor shows that Porter can transition to a team favorite in the locker room.
Through nine games played in a Rockets uniform, Porter has tended to have a very underrated season. He’s averaging 15.4 points on 43% shooting. It has been a big transition from his rookie season to his sophomore campaign. Porter shows more assertiveness in getting set with his shot and it allows him to become a dangerous scorer on the offensive end.
As Porter continues to become familiar with the Rockets’ culture, head coach Stephen Silas should utilize him more as a number one option on the floor. So far, Porter shows too much potential to not always have the ball in his hands to make plays.
As Christian Wood is making his way back from his injury, both he and Porter could make a great duo. They both have all-star potential and it shows with their ability to play at an elite level. These two are the future of the Houston Rockets. If Houston’s front office plays their cards right, they can bring in young role players who can complement their two stars tremendously. It has been an uphill battle for Kevin Porter Jr. to make his way into Houston. As he continues to develop, optimism will continue to lean his way.