Damian Lillard sees ‘talent through the roof’ in Houston’s Kevin Porter Jr.

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The young Houston Rockets (1-11) didn’t get the win on Friday night versus Portland (6-7), but third-year guard Kevin Porter Jr. clearly earned the respect of perennial All-Star Damian Lillard.

Porter led the Rockets with 18 points and 5 assists during Friday’s 104-92 loss (box score) to the Trail Blazers. Porter shot 50% from the field, committed only 1 turnover, and the Rockets were +9 in the 29 minutes that he played (and -21 in the 19 minutes that he missed).

Houston made just 7-of-32 from 3-point range (21.9%) and connected on only 17-of-27 free throws (63.0%), and that didn’t provide Porter with enough help to compete with the veteran-laden Blazers — who were led by Lillard (20 points, 7 assists) and CJ McCollum (17 points, 8 rebounds). Nonetheless, the 21-year-old’s showing offered hope of better days in the future. Here’s what Lillard said about Porter postgame:

I’m happy for him. I met him when he was in high school. I was at our practice facility, and he was doing USA Basketball. I sat there and watched… and I saw them playing pickup. There were a lot of NBA personnel in the building, and they were talking about all these players. I was like, ‘Maybe I just don’t know what I’m talking about, but I think he’s the best player in here.’ That’s what I thought at the time. I was like, ‘He’s better than all these dudes that y’all are saying… whatever the rankings are.’

So I always liked his game, from that point on. I bumped into him, Kenyon Martin Jr., and Ben McLemore this summer in Cabo. That’s like my favorite spot, and we sat there and talked for a while by the pool.

You know, he’s misunderstood. He’s gotten into a little bit of trouble and had some issues. In this league and in professional sports, it’s easy for people to just judge young athletes, and I think he’s been a victim of that. Obviously, (if) you make mistakes, you had better be ready to take what comes with it. He’s kind of been judged and misunderstood, but the talent level is through the roof. He can do everything, and personally, he’s one of my favorite young players in the league. I’m just happy to see him getting an opportunity to just spread his wings.

Porter and the Rockets return to action with Sunday’s game versus Chris Paul and Phoenix, with tipoff set for 6:00 p.m. Central from Toyota Center. It’s the finale of a three-game homestand for the Rockets, and for Porter, it’s a second straight game matched up against a future Hall of Fame point guard. On night one, he more than held up his end of the bargain.

Related

Kevin Porter Jr. learning to defend better versus top NBA talent

Kevin Durant sees Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. as 'special, special talent'

List

Houston Rockets report card: Player grades from Friday's loss to Portland