Kevin Porter Jr. could be a depth piece for the Indiana Pacers.
After an eventful week inside the Cavaliers’ locker room, Kevin Porter Jr. is reportedly on the market. Should the Indiana Pacers be interested in bringing him in to help with wing depth? Given the injury situation this season, Porter may be a good addition as an insurance plan moving forward.
Porter reportedly had an outburst in the locker room after his locker was given to recently-acquired Taurean Prince, who was sent to Cleveland as part of the James Harden and Victor Oladipo trade. His actions have allegedly led the Cavs to pursue avenues to move on from Porter, a first-round pick in 2019.
Kevin Porter Jr. has not played yet this season due to personal reasons. He held himself out of the start of the season and has just recently rejoined the team. It appears he was a bit upset to see the team give up his locker while he was away and his reaction to the situation was the final straw for Cleveland.
I am not one to gloss over mental health and personal improvement, especially as so many NBA players have come forward with mental health concerns over the past few years. Porter is a teammate of Kevin Love, one of the leading advocates of mental health awareness in the NBA. He also has support from Andre Drummond and other members of the team.
The concerns for Kevin Porter Jr. run deep, both in the NBA and back to his college season. He was suspended indefinitely at USC due to personal conduct issues and declared for the draft after that season. He played in 50 games for the Cavs in his rookie season before stepping away from the game until this week.
Off the court concerns aside, I still think Kevin Porter Jr. has a ton of potential in the NBA and I was hopeful the Pacers could have landed him in the draft in 2019. He wound up falling to the very end of the first round but has the talent to outplay that draft slot.
He averaged 10.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.2 assists as a rookie while shooting .442/.335/.723 splits. His shooting numbers were not great but his length on the defensive end could be a huge bonus for the Pacers. He averaged 0.9 steals and 0.3 blocks last season while playing in just 23 minutes per game. That comes out to 1.4 steals and 0.4 blocks per 36 minutes, which would be a huge addition to the bench unit.
I have no idea what his situation will be like or what the compensation may be in a trade from Cleveland but it can’t be much. Given the extra second-round pick that is coming via the Caris LeVert acquisition, the Pacers have the ammo to make this happen if they want.