Credit: USC Athletics

Kevin Porter Jr. Draft Profile

Breaking down the NBA potential of Kevin Porter Jr.

Freshman 6’6″ 218 Shooting Guard USC DOB: 5/4/00
9.5 ppg 4 rpg 1.4 apg FG: 47.1% 3 PT: 41.2%

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Recruiting Profile

Wingspan: 6’9″

Vertical Leap: 34″ 

NBA Comparison: Jaylen Brown/Justise Winslow

Strengths: Outside Shooting, Shot Creation, Natural Scorer

Weaknesses: Limited Playing Time, Suspension

Porter Jr. came to USC as the first 5 star recruit to choose the Trojans since 2008, leading to plenty of lofty expectations for his freshman season. In reality, his one year of college can be described in many ways as a disappointment, but also one that showed he has the ability to play basketball at the highest level. Coming off of screens is something that he has done, but creating his own shot is an area where he excels. He can use a crossover, step back, or just simply get by a defender to produce an open look. Once he was able to create those open shots, he knocked them down with efficiency shooting three point attempts at 41.2% on 3.2 shots per game. That number is a not a large sample size, however it is big enough to show that he projects as a player that will be able to knock down shots at the professional level. In the fast break he is very hard to defend with Porter Jr. being able to not only finish at the basket but slide out and hit an open three pointer when the defense collapses on another player. If he is not pulling up for a jump shot after making a move, once he gets by a defender he is a crafty scorer around the basket. Porter Jr. can handle the ball at a very high level, resembling in many ways James Harden who seems to have it on a string, while creating a jump shot, and when the floor opens up at the NBA level he should be able to get his shot off with ease. His athleticism is solid enough to throw down a dunk, but he also has shown off some impressive up and under moves, as well as being able to use his body to shield a defender on a lay ups. All of these offensive skills make him one of the most intriguing prospects in the draft class. Most of the film on Porter Jr. is impressive, and as long as teams are not concerned with his off of the court issues at Southern Cal, there will be some teams rating him as a top ten talent. 

There is a reason that as a player with so much hype coming into college and not being on a great team, that he would only end up playing 22.1 minutes per game. In the case of Porter Jr. this was more about what he did off of the court than on it, and teams may look at that as a major negative, or they may overlook it and say those things will work themselves out as he matures. He dealt with an injury early in the year, and then was suspended indefinitely for what USC only said were “conduct issues”, which obviously does not explain the nature of his rule breaking. Without knowing the details of what transpired with his suspension it is very difficult to determine whether or not it should be viewed as an issue going forward, but there is no doubt NBA teams will be finding that information out. He has the tools to be a solid defender on the wing, and with time he should develop into at least an average NBA defender having the length, size, and athleticism to guard the level of athlete in the league. Despite the lack of playing time and only starting 4 games in his one college season, the time that he did spend on the floor was impressive, and he should be viewed as a potential steal if he goes outside of the top ten. His offensive skills directly translate to the modern NBA game, and with improvement on the defensive end he has a chance to be a high level player at the professional level. There were not many big games due to the lack of playing time, but he scored 17 against Washington, and 15 against Texas, two teams that were considered the best of the best on the defensive side of the floor.

Here are a couple of examples showing his ability to create a shot:

Porter Jr. is viewed as a first round pick, with the possibility to go inside of the lottery. His potential is undeniable, which will lead to multiple teams being intrigued with him as a pick outside of the top ten, and he could be one of the steals of the draft if he goes that late. His ceiling as a professional is a starter level guard, possibly reaching an all star level at some point in his career, as a high level scorer. The worst case scenario for Porter Jr. is that he is unable to become a focal point of an offense at the next level, struggling to deal with the expectations, leading him to find a limited role as a back up who can come into the game and score points. 

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