While the Cleveland Cavaliers have been relatively quiet during the offseason, they did make a few solid moves to brighten their future. It can be difficult to predict how well new players will mesh with current stars, but if these moves work out for the Cavs, the upcoming season could be far more exciting than anticipated.
The Cavs had two draft picks (the 5th and 26th) and hoped to acquire another during draft night. They placed veteran guard J.R Smith on the trading block, in hopes of grabbing another early-round pick. However, they failed to reach a deal that included Smith as they selected players with their picks. Then, the Cavs pulled off a deal just as the first round was coming to an end. Cleveland acquired Kevin Porter Jr., the Bucks selection with the 30th pick, for cash considerations.
At the end of the night, the Cavs had added three new players to the mix: Darius Garland, Dylan Windler and Porter. While all three players might become great additions, Porter is likely the player with the greatest potential to make a splash right off the bat.
When the Cavs received Porter in the trade, some people called him the steal of the draft. His draftmates echoed these sentiments as they voted him the steal of their draft class in the annual rookie survey. Porter has a few questions surrounding him, including health and his maturity, but he is a skilled player with tremendous upside.
Porter spent only one year at USC, where he averaged 9.5 points per game and shot over 40 percent from 3-point range. While he showed glimpses of his game, injuries and off the court issues affected his season.
In November, Porter suffered a quad contusion that forced him to sit out part of the season. He returned briefly in December but quickly re-aggravated the injury. When he finally returned in January, he only played in one game before he was forced to sit out. This time, it was due to a situation off the court. USC suspended Porter indefinitely for “personal conduct issues.” This forced him to miss the rest of the season, and he would eventually declare for the NBA draft without playing another game for USC.
As a fan, knowing his ups and downs at USC causes a bit of concern. However, Porter is too talented to pass up. He is a 6-foot-6 guard that is an exceptional offensive talent. He can play multiple positions and can score points from anywhere on the court. Whether it is shooting from deep or slashing to the basket, Porter is more than capable of scoring. He’s even been compared to his favorite player, James Harden. While it’s far too early to compare him to Harden, who is a superstar in the league, Porter has the raw talent to become a legitimate star in the NBA.
As the season gets closer, I’m anxious to see Porter in action. While it may take time, Porter will eventually show why he was the steal of the draft.
And, I for one cannot wait.