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Kevin Porter Jr. makes presence felt at Ime Udoka’s Rockets introduction

The 2023 NBA offseason is well underway for the young Houston Rockets, who have numerous players and staff members on vacation following another rebuilding season (22-60). Thus, attending a hastily arranged introductory press conference for new head coach Ime Udoka wasn’t logistically feasible for most of them.

But one exception was starting point guard Kevin Porter Jr., who happens to be one of Houston’s longest-tenured team members since being acquired in a trade from Cleveland in January 2021. With averages of 19.2 points (44.2% FG, 36.6% on 3-pointers), 5.7 assists, and 5.3 rebounds per game last season, the 22-year-old had his finest season to date, and he’d love to build on that heading into 2023-24.

So, why not start that process by making a positive impression with the new head coach? Moments after Wednesday’s press conference opened in the media room at Toyota Center, Porter slipped into the first row of seats by himself, and Udoka certainly noticed the arrival.

“I see I got a smart player here,” Udoka joked. “He’s trying to get some playing time already. The only guy that showed up.”

Later in the press conference, Udoka pointed to Porter and backcourt mate Jalen Green as having special skillsets:

If we just look at the backcourt, Kevin and Jalen, and what they can do, one thing I would say to the players is not all players, not all men are created equal on the basketball court. They do some natural things that others can’t do. And so you just have to harvest that, teach it the right way but as well as using their strengths.

Udoka and Porter embraced once the press conference ended.

“In my six years of having this basketball team, there’s no player that I’ve enjoyed more talking (to) off the court, even during the games, than Kevin Porter right here,” owner Tilman Fertitta said. “I just want y’all to know that, because I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t mean it.”

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Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire