Craig Porter Jr, a 23 year old, six-foot-two point guard out of Wichita State University, has played surprisingly well for the Cavs so far. Going undrafted, NBA fans may not be the most familiar with CPJ, so here’s a look at surprise Cavalier standout Craig Porter Jr.
Although he only averaged 8.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists over his time at WSU, he came into his own in his final season. Across the 2022-23 season Porter Jr would average 13.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists. He was an effective two-way guard finishing the season not only with a 47.8 field goal percentage, but with 46 blocks and 47 steals as well. He actually holds the record for most blocks by a WSU guard (81), proving to be a shockingly good shot blocking Shocker at his size.
After being passed over sixty times in the 2023 NBA draft, Cleveland signed Porter Jr to a two-way contract in early July. A decision that looks wise in hindsight, seeing as though he was one of the main contributors to Cleveland’s first Summer League Championship win. With him averaging 12 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists to go with 0.8 blocks and steals a piece, it’s safe to say he was Cleveland’s surprise of the summer. He did have his scoring outbursts, scoring 22 points in his debut and 23 points later, but he seemed to stuff the stat sheet pretty evenly across the board.
With Ricky Rubio missing the first chunk of the season, Porter Jr has gotten much more playing time than expected. Over the first quarter of the season he’s played in 13 games. He’s currently averaging 7.2 points, 1.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists. This is while shooting on a 56.1 percent clip and hitting almost 43 percent of his three attempts. He’s also averaging half a steal and block a game, suggesting that his defensive ability is translating well enough to have similar results to his NCAA play.
Aside from his numbers, because he is still early into his rookie season and has had some stinkers, he looks very comfortable at this level. Whether it’s cutting past a defender or locking down the ball carrier, Porter Jr seems to be unfazed when it comes to the pressures of playing on the big stage (see his summer league debut for reference).
With Porter Jr’s play, and Rubio’s absence still indefinite, Cavalier fans can expect to continue to see Porter Jr in a backup capacity. Or, due to injury, possibly in some starting spots as we saw earlier this season. If he continues to develop at the pace he seems to be, he could be a two-way Cavalier contributor that seriously bolsters the bench.
Featured photo courtesy of NBA.com
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