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The Word On... Kevin Porter Jr.

Rookie Rising

1 of 12’s weeklong focus on the Wine & Gold’s high-flying freshman, Kevin Porter Jr. rolls on.

Not a lot was known on the Seattle native and former USC Trojan when the Cavaliers tabbed him with the final pick of the first round last summer. But it didn’t take long for the electric youngster to become a fan favorite – showing off his all-around game and posting some individual performances that etched his name in the franchise rookie record books.

So here’s what Porter had to say about his initial NBA season – and what those around him had to say about the good-natured swingman with the million-dollar smile …


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Coach J.B. Bickerstaff praising his young swingman’s energy on both ends …

"He puts the work in, but you know he’s talented. With him it’s a lot about the experience but it’s the confidence too. You know, once he got comfortable and he got going, there’s not many plays that he can’t make. The bonus for us is he cares about both sides of the ball.”

Incoming Freshmen

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Kevin Porter Jr. on Cleveland’s reaction to the Cavs incoming Class of 2019 …

"I feel like even before we started playing, Cleveland showed a lot of love to us new rookies – me, Dylan and D.G. And I'm kind of like a highlight-type of guy. I think fans love that -- and I love their support. Now, I just want to give them a show and get them some wins.”

Sharing the Love

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Kevin Love following Porter’s career-best 30-point night in a home win over the Heat …

"Earlier in the year, I'm not so certain (Porter) would have been in the game at the end right there (in the) fourth quarter, who knows. Just the growth to play 41 minutes, (have) 30 points, efficient and close the game like an NBA closer. I mean, that's big time. That's what this year is all about, games like that.”

Carrying the Torch

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Kevin Porter Jr. on carrying on the legacy of his father, who was shot and killed when Jr. was just four years old …

"It was just unfortunate that I had to grow up without him. There was a lot of pressure. You know, I'm a 'junior' -- I have the same name as him -- so I had some big shoes I had to fill. And that was both his legacy in sports and then being the man of the house to my family. So, there was definitely a lot of pressure growing up, and there still is.

"I feel like I’ve been doing a good job of carrying on his legacy and carrying on mine along with that. It was definitely tough growing up without him, but I probably wouldn't be where I'm at if I wouldn't have gone the route that I went and grew up how I grew up.”

Junior Mint

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Larry Nance Jr. on what Porter needs to take his game to the next level …

"Experience. Experience. (Porter), he’s been showing flashes all year of brilliance. So, it’s just getting that experience for him, knowing when to use his gift of wiggle.

"KP, he can get to the rim any time he wants, but knowing when to use it, how to benefit others with it – and that just comes through experience.”


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Kevin Porter Jr. on what his teammates were telling him late in a thrilling home overtime against Miami …

“Keep going, don’t stop and just find energy, because they knew I was getting a little tired out there. They knew my body was getting a little crampy. But I just fed off their energy. They gave me motivation to keep going and that’s all they were saying the whole fourth, the whole OT – just keep your foot on the gas, keep going, keep going.”

Starting Blocks

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J.B. Bickerstaff following Porter’s third career start, an early-March home matchup against Utah …

“I think it’s growth and it’s experience and that’s what is most important for him. Getting an opportunity to play and handle the ball against one of the best defensive centers in the league. So how do you navigate that pick and roll, how do you create against a really good defensive team that try to play the pick in roll with just the two guys involved and have that big there in the paint to protect everything?

"So, you know these are all experiences for him and opportunity for growth and I thought he took advantage of it.”

First Love

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Kevin Porter Jr. discussing his original athletic calling …

"Actually, football was my first love when I was younger. I was already pretty fast and elusive -- little jukes and everything. I loved like just mixing people and scoring touchdowns. Basketball actually came later for me.

"I started out as a running back, but when I got closer to high school -- around middle school -- I moved to wide receiver. I got too tall to be a running back.

"I really loved football – and I had picked that sport to try to go all the way with. But my family thought that I was better at basketball, so that's what I did.”

No Bull

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Collin Sexton on why Kevin Porter Jr. and Darius Garland complement each other on the floor …

“Just because they play one-on-one. They’re really good one-on-one players and KP is a tremendous scorer and he can do a lot. He can play defense and also get buckets.”

Droppin' Dimes

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Former head coach John Beilein after Porter posted a then-career-high seven assists against Brooklyn …

“Isn’t that great? I just love it, I love his evolution that he is seeing the floor. He is becoming a much more accurate passer. The ball is not dribbling nearly as much. It’s moving out of his hands and he really had a good game in that way.”

Big Brother

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Kevin Porter Jr. on the influence former NBA player and fellow Seattle native Jamal Crawford had on his career …

"Jamal Crawford was actually one of those people that told me I could be special when I was in, I believe, eighth grade.

"That was before I decided to go to Rainier Beach. I used to go up to Rainier Vista, and they would have nice little runs up there. And from there, he'd seen me play, seen me go up and down. So, every time I'd see him, he'd give me advice. He was like my big brother. He is my big brother.

"I was really fortunate to have him in my corner, because he was a very successful NBA player. He's part of league history -- he won Sixth Man three times, he played for a lot of very successful teams. He knew a lot about the game, and he gave me so much advice and knowledge. And when I got to high school, I started to understand the game better and that's when he really put a lot of knowledge and wisdom into me.”

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