The Cleveland Cavaliers traded with the Milwaukee Bucks to select Rainier Beach product Kevin Porter Jr. with the 30th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft on Thursday.
ESPN reported the trade shortly after he was selected.
Porter Jr., a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, was a five-star and considered the top recruit out of the state of Washington. He went to USC for a year before declaring for the draft, and was considered one of the top athletes, drawing comparisons to NBA all-star James Harden.
Slotted anywhere from the mid-teens to mid-20s, Porter Jr. dropped considerably before going with the last pick of the first round.
Porter Jr. donned an olive green suit with a collage of photos of his late father, Kevin Porter Sr., stitched to the inner lining. He also wore an emblem with his father’s picture. Porter Sr. was was shot and killed trying to help a person in a fightin 2004, according to The Seattle Times, when Porter Jr. was four years old.
“He been here since day one, even though physically he wasn’t here with me, I know he’s here, right here,” Porter Jr. said.
As a senior at Rainier Beach, Porter Jr. averaged 27 points, 14 boards and five assists, leading the team to the 3A state championship, which it lost to Garfield. The Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association named him Washington’s “Mr. Basketball.”
Porter Jr. averaged 9.5 points and 4.0 rebounds rebounds on 47 percent shooting in his one year at USC. He played 21 of the team’s 33 games, beset by off the court issues and was suspended indefinitely for unspecified “personal conduct issues,” along with a quad injury that kept him out nine games.
Still, the 19-year-old was considered one of the top athletes in the draft. Cleveland.com reported the Cavs gave up three future second round picks for Porter Jr.
On the Scorebook Live Today Podcast Tuesday, ESPN analyst Jay Bilas touted Porter Jr.’s upside.
“He’s obviously really talented,” Bilas said. “He’s got great speed, and he’s very gifted off the dribble. I would call him a transition athlete, more of an open floor player but got a terrific step-back move, hesitation move, he’s just sort of wired to score. So he’s an NBA-level athlete with a great body that has shown ability across the board when he feels like playing.
“The question is is he going to be able to do that consistently … to be a pro, they expect it consistently. If you expect your check consistently, you better perform consistently. And he’s got to improve his decisions on and off the floor. Couple issues this year where he had to be suspended for conduct detrimental, that kind of deal. But he’s still young and he’s supremely talented …”
Porter Jr. joins the likes of Nate Robinson, Jamal Crawford and Dejounte Murray as NBA players who played at Rainier Beach.
(Photos by Vince Miller)