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Prospect scouting report: Kevin Porter Jr.

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There’s a good chance the combo guard out of USC will be the most talented player on the board when the Hornets make their selection.

NCAA Basketball: Southern California at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Porter Jr. is one of the toughest evaluations in this draft class. He’s oozing with talent and has a game reminiscent of 2018 NBA MVP James Harden. However, there are questions about his game and his maturity level that could make him available when the Charlotte Hornets make their pick.

Measurements

Height: 6’5.5” in shoes, 6’4” without shoes
Wingspan: 6’9”
Standing reach: 8’7”
Weight: 213 pounds
Vertical: 27” standing, 34” max

Strengths: Physical tools, shot creation ability, combo guard potential

Kevin Porter Jr. has ideal measurables for a combo guard. He’s got a sturdy 6’5.5” frame with good length. He didn’t test well at the combine, but he’s a very explosive athlete in game situations. He rebounds well for his position, pulling in 7.2 rebounds per 40 minutes at USC.

Porter’s scoring ability is his most tantalizing trait as a prospect. He’s got a tremendously deep bag of tricks. He has a tight handle and great footwork that he uses to get to his lethal step back jump shot. He can attack the rim when he wants to and finish with either hand, above or below the rim, off one or two feet. He converted on 41.2% of his 3-point attempts as a freshman, and many of those were tough shots off the dribble. There’s very little that he can’t do with the ball.

His ability to create space and manipulate defenders should open up his playmaking for others as he matures. He was more focused on scoring than distributing at USC, but he’s not a selfish player. If put in a more prominent offensive role, he should be able to produce a decent number of assists.

Weaknesses: Mentality, college production, shooting form

The biggest red flags surrounding Porter deal with his maturity. He was suspended by USC for personal conduct issues just days after returning from a lengthy absence due to injury.

On the court, Porter’s approach and impact don’t jibe with his talent level. He attempted only 13.5 shots and 2.2 free throws per game despite his scoring proficiency and ball handling ability. He scored single figures in nearly half the games he played in.

Advanced stats don’t like him. Both his win share and box plus/minus stats were very poor according to Tankathon. He didn’t contribute to winning on a USC team that wasn’t rife with talent. A player with his talent should elevate the team around him. Porter didn’t do that.

There are questions about how well his shooting ability will translate to the next level. Porter shot an abysmal 52.2% from the free throw line in his lone season at USC. His form isn’t great. He shoots from the wrong side of his face and twists his lower body as he shoots. It’s smooth and compact, but it’s not how you’d teach it in a shooting clinic.

Overview

Kevin Porter Jr. is one of the biggest boom-or-bust prospects in the draft. He has all sorts of talent, but it didn’t translate into production in college and red flags regarding his maturity further cast doubt on whether or not he’ll be able to maximize that talent. In an interview at the combine, he said he had met with the Hornets, so he’s on the team’s radar. He might be the kind of home run swing the organization needs to take so they can work their way out of NBA purgatory.