Should the Indiana Pacers select Kevin Porter Jr. if he falls in the draft?

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 28: USC guard Kevin Porter Jr. (4) looks on during the game between the USC Trojans and the UCLA Bruins on February 28, 2019, at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 28: USC guard Kevin Porter Jr. (4) looks on during the game between the USC Trojans and the UCLA Bruins on February 28, 2019, at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Kevin Porter Jr. isn’t the perfect prospect, but if he falls in the draft, the Indiana Pacers might consider taking him with the 18th pick.

Kevin Porter Jr. was a highly touted guard out of high school. The former 4-star recruit now has his sights set on the NBA Draft. The Indiana Pacers could use his talent, but he might not be available at pick 18.

Former top-50 recruit Kevin Porter Jr. played one season at the University of Southern California. After a season full of ups and downs, KPJ entered the NBA Draft and looks to be a lottery pick. He is expected to be drafted well before the Pacers are on the clock, but he could fall due to character concerns.

He played 21 games and started just four last season for the Trojans following a thigh injury and suspension.

While Porter likely will not be available for the Pacers, they should still consider his talent in case he falls. Sporting News’ Sean Deveney recently mocked the USC guard to the Pacers.

The constant theme of our draft coverage is that the pacers need scorers and wing depth. KPJ offers both. He is 6’5” with a 6’10” wingspan, but he handles the ball like a true point guard. He can get to the rack and finish, he has a strong frame and is an incredible athlete.

The good: Porter is an offensive threat

There is a reason that KPJ is so highly touted. Despite a quiet season at USC, he showed a ton of flashes on the offensive end. He shot at a high clip from the field. His 9.5 points per game average came on .471/.412/.522 splits.

If Porter played more than 22 minutes and had a chance to shoot more, there is no doubt that he would’ve scored a lot more than just 9.5 points per contest. After all, he only attempted 7.5 shots per game. His shooting percentages would land him in the top 10 among NBA two-guards. Of course, the situations aren’t the same, but there is a lot to like about Porter’s offense.

Kevin Porter Jr. is an excellent ball-handler that can create his own shots. He has a nice array of dribble moves to get to the rim or step back and create space. He can score at all three levels and has the ability to play above the rim as well.

KPJ is the ultimate offensive prospect. He can slash, pull up, shake defenders, and is excellent in transition. Not to be extreme, but he has an offensive ceiling of James Harden if he continues to develop his game and work on his craft. I see him as a guy that can play alongside Victor Oladipo and share the point guard duties. Of course, that’s if the Pacers decide to move on from Darren Collison and/or Cory Joseph.

I do have some concerns with Porter’s shot. While he knocks it down, his stroke is a little off-balance. He rotates his body to his right and lands on one foot. Now, I’m not suggesting he should change his shot because that will alter too much of his game. I am just acknowledging the concern.

His length allows him to contest shots on the defensive end as well. If Porter can improve his defensive play, he can become one of the better two-way players in the league. His long arms will allow him to intercept passing and cut off passing lanes if he tidies up his understanding of the defense.

It is important to not his inability to knock down free throws, however. He hit just 52.2 percent of his free throw attempts at USC, a mark he shouldn’t be too proud of. Nonetheless, he is a potent and deadly scorer.

The bad: Decision making on and off the court

Kevin Porter Jr. tends to be selfish on the offensive end. He failed to swing the ball to the open man on far too many occasions last season. Rather than moving the ball, Porter looks to create for himself.

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While he is a great scorer, sometimes it is just better to find the open man. He relies on his athleticism too often and does not make the best basketball play. If Porter wants to be successful in the NBA, he will need to look to pass much more often. This is reflected in his passing numbers, with just 1.4 assists per game compared to his 1.9 turnovers.

Time will tell how KPJ will be used at the next level. At USC, he was best as the primary ball-handler. He failed to move without the ball and seemed to need to create for himself. Porter was a very stationary option in the half-court offense without the ball. He needs to broaden is abilities off the ball and find other ways to get open.

Only starting four collegiate games is concerning as well. Despite being a big-time recruit, KPJ didn’t see a ton of playing time at USC. He only saw limited action against top talents in the Pac-12. Not to mention he missed a significant portion of USC’s games due to injury and suspension.

After missing over a month, Porter returned from injury only to be suspended for two weeks for a conduct issue. The exact cause of the suspension was never released. If Porter can stay on the court, he has all the potential in the world.

Final verdict

I highly doubt Kevin Porter Jr. will be available when the Pacers are on the clock. If he slides, whether due to the character questions or other simply rising up the board, the Pacers should strongly consider his talents. He can be a great two-guard with a plethora of offensive moves.

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At the end of the day, KPJ is one of the best prospects in this class. He is a gifted scorer and his length gives him a ton of potential on both ends. He can fill two needs at once for the Pacers; he can score at will and play on the perimeter. He has a very high ceiling as an offensive superstar. Sign me up.