It’s no secret that Houston Rockets point guard Kevin Porter Jr. is a certified bucket-getter, but last night’s 125-119 win over the Washington Wizards signaled a turn of the page in his star journey.
Yet, the shining moments of last nights win weren’t the 25 points he poured in from all angles on the court.
Neither were the four rebounds and five assists he tacked on.
It was the subtle mental switch Porter hit that turned him from scoring guard to instructor; from a hooper to a floor general.
Solid night for KPJ. 🔥
📈 25PTS 5AST 4RBS pic.twitter.com/UrvD1CeNLL
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) October 6, 2021
It was visible in his increased vocality with his team, motioning players around in the offense as he envisioned a mismatch for himself or his star forward Christian Wood. The force with which he pounded the rock into the hardwood as he brought the ball into the halfcourt was different, perpetuating his dominance on the court.
I feel like just being the point guard and having the ball in my hands as much as I do is just being vocal,” Porter said to The Athletic’s Kelly Iko postgame. “Because the point guards are the most vocal, if not the second most behind the big man or center. But you have to be a leader out there. You got to keep your guys right, you got to keep the frequency level and energy right and the tempo runs off for you. You always got to have your mind level so you can get back and do what you got to do for yourself and your team.
When Porter was extracted from the Cleveland Cavaliers over a year ago, the Rockets had already created a regimen for who they believed to be their next star guard, sending him to play with the G League affiliate RVG Vipers so that Porter could become acclimated with the system of head coach Stephen Silas.
Coupled with a full training camp with the team along with the dedication and hunger of a determined 21-year-old, Porter says he is trying to find the balance between being aggressive for his shot and dishing it out to the corner three.
The Seattle-based guard knows he can go out and drop 50, but the next step in his journey is developing into a true playmaker that the Rocket’s have been afforded the luxury of over the past few seasons.
That’s kind of the help of my guys out there,” Porter said to Iko. “They don’t like me passive at all. They like me kind of aggressive because it opens up shots for them as well as myself. That’s just how I got to play from now on, just keep being aggressive, keep looking for my shot, which is gonna open up for everyone else.