KJ Martin, Kevin Porter Jr. reflect on first season with Rockets

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When the NBA’s 2020-21 season began, KJ Martin was a 20-year-old rookie who was only one year removed from playing high-school basketball. Meanwhile, second-year guard Kevin Porter Jr. was kept away from his original team in Cleveland due to a series of offseason missteps.

Both ended up taking on much larger roles with the Houston Rockets than anyone around the league could have expected.

The Rockets ended up prioritizing a youth movement after James Harden forced his way out of town, which led to more frontcourt minutes for Martin and a trade to pluck Porter out of Cleveland. Both young prospects went on to take full advantage of the resulting opportunities.

In 26 games with the Rockets, Porter averaged 16.6 points (42.5% FG), 6.3 assists, and 3.8 rebounds in 32.1 minutes, including a historic game of 50 points and 11 assists on April 29 versus Milwaukee. Meanwhile, Martin averaged 9.3 points (50.9% FG, 36.5% on 3-pointers) and 5.4 rebounds in 23.7 minutes per game, and he compiled a highlight reel of blocks against some of the NBA’s tallest players.

General manager Rafael Stone referred to both players as among Houston’s “young core” to build around moving forward.

Via an Instagram collage of photos, here’s how both Martin and Porter characterized their initial season with the Rockets. “All a part of the journey,” Porter wrote. “Blessed to be able to go out and compete at a high level with a great group of guys,” added Martin, who had a reply from longtime NBA superstar Kevin Durant in the comments section.

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