Kevin Porter Jr. – Wing – USC – 6’5 212 Pounds
Kevin Porter is one of the biggest risks in this draft class – among players like Oregon’s Bol Bol, Iowa State’s Talen Horton-Tucker, and Texas’s Jaxson Hayes. What Porter brings to the table is rare, especially for the range at which Charlotte is picking in this draft. He’s a wing that can score at all three levels. Porter has length, speed, athleticism, and was able to score efficiently during his limited time with USC. Porter is undoubtedly a special talent, but the question remains as to whether he can harness his skills and become a reliable player at the next level.
Weight: 212.6 LBS
Body Fat %: 5.10%
Standing Reach: 8-foot-7
Porter is the best player in this draft class when it comes to creating separation. His step-back jump shot is lethal and has shades of James Harden (especially given he’s a lefty). Porter has ideal two-guard size being 6-foot-5 with a 6-foot-9 wingspan which should allow him to switch on to point guards and some small-ball threes.
He has above average athleticism, being able to drive the lane and finish with emphatic dunks and while he isn’t the best play maker at the moment he is also a very underrated passer, showcasing the ability to play make and drop the flashiest of dimes. A skillset that the Hornets could definitely use more of in their back court.
There is an off-the-court factor when it comes to Porter. You cannot write a draft profile without mentioning it. However, I am led to think these concerns are a little bit overblown. According to Sam Vecenie of The Athletic, Porter had a 180-degree turnaround in attitude and was a model citizen from the moment he came back from his suspension.
As mentioned above Porter is also not the best decision maker. His playmaking ability is limited but he has shown the potential to be a good in that department. While he was a dynamic scorer, this did, in fact, limit what he could do offensively for the Trojans.
The sample size isn’t great for Porter. He appeared in only 21 games for USC and started in four. Porter also struggled from the free-throw line, shooting only 52% from the charity stripe. This didn’t translate to his long-range game, though, as he averaged 41% from the college 3-point line and 38% from the NBA line.
Kevin Porter isn’t guaranteed to be a star. But the Hornets need to take a risk – a big risk, and Porter fits that bill.
He could easily be out of the league in three years or be rookie of the year.
This excerpt from a Dennis Smith Jr. pre-draft profile has always stuck with me since I read it, and I believe it applies to Porter’s game as well (Steve Bob Forrest, then-At The Hive writer):
“The Hornets approach the draft like your dad approaches buying pants: ‘What kinda moron spends a hundred bucks on some razzle-dazzle blue jeans when you can get a sensible pair of Kirkland slacks for a fraction of the cost?’
Look, there’s nothing wrong with a sturdy pair of Dockers. They’re safe, and reliable. Your dad needs them khaki slacks, bro. They’re not just pants, those are Business Britches. They’re no-nonsense. They get the job done, they put food on the table, and above all else, they are NOT fun to watch play professional basketball. Luke Kennard is a pair of Khakis. Justin Jackson? Pleated trousers. Dennis Smith Jr. is a David Bowie spaceman suit.”
Basketball is a fun sport, so let’s take a chance on a fun player. If it works out, then that would be great. If not, it’s just another Charlotte Hornets draft.