NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK

Here's why the sky is the limit for these young Rockets

The future looks bright for the Rockets. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets are on an 18-game losing streak. Even though the Rockets are getting dominated during the streak, there are bright spots. The future has become bright for Kevin Porter Jr. and Kenyon Martin Jr. Ever since Porter and KJ left the G-League, they have hit the ground running. The G-League built better confidence for both KJ and Porter.

Since Porter and KJ are having a good season with the Rockets, it is time to analyze them.

As of right now in five games, Kevin is averaging 19.6 points per game, eight assists, and almost two steals. Kevin is also shooting 43.7% from the field off 17.4 attempts per game, including having a 51% true shooting percentage. His game is completely pure because of his shiftiness and explosiveness. Porter's first step is hard for the defenders to keep up with. Being young and athletic pays off well for Porter. Porter attacks driving lanes because of his ability to see the floor at an all-pro level. When attacking inside the restricted area, Porter is 75%, which is ranked 12th in the league (88th percentile) behind LeBron James, according to Cleaning the Glass.

While being able to see the floor well, Porter can make crafty passes to big men like Justin Patton and Christian Wood. Coach Silas raves about Porter's playmaking ability on the court. Being able to find different players whenever on the court on offense. NBA defenses struggle to guard all aspects of Porter. Six players on the Rockets are scoring over 40% when Kevin passes the ball to them. In a frequency manor, he and Jae'Sean Tate have the best connection on the court, which is 17%. Porter has proven to the Rockets' coaching staff that he can play point guard, including becoming a combo guard.

Porter takes a variety of different shots, which are step-backs and contested shots from wherever. He's great at getting his own shot, including off the dribble. Step-backs are Porter's favorite shot when space is created by him. Kevin is 39 percent from the field when attempting step-backs, including being 42.3% in efficiency too. Off 29 unassisted attempts from the field, Porter is 100%. He does not need much help when creating his own shot. His skill set is elite at 20-years-old.

Porter relies on his midrange because he struggles from behind the 3-point line. He is 58% from midrange, which ignores Porter's poor shooting from behind the arc. He shoots the three-ball at 23%. So, if Kevin wants to become his idol James Harden, the 3-point shooting needs to improve. Remember when I said Porter loves contested shots, he is shooting pull-ups at a frequency of 50.6%. That is a high rate, but his efficiency field goal percentage is 38%, which is good. I could go on about Porter's stats, but the eye test is immaculate. Porter's speed and agility are off the charts. It will be fun to watch Porter's growth with the Rockets in the upcoming years.

Now, let's discuss KJ Martin

KJ Martin has shown his complete athletic ability for the Rockets. He has used that ability to score at all angles on offense. Even though KJ is only averaging 7.7 points per game, his cutting, dunking, and defense have brought excitement to the Rockets. Most of Martin's shots are dunks, and he's recorded a grand total of 12. KJ is scoring 60% percent inside the restricted area.

Martin thrives off assists from other teammates, including cutting toward the basket. His quickness has allowed him to blow and sneak by defenders. Martin is at 80% when cutting towards the basket for dunks. He has made himself available in the Rockets' offense by having a 17% percent usage rating. Playmakers on the Rockets have found KJ 22 times, and he is 100% when assisted.

Martin has become good at defense, and it shows with his amazing blocks on Rudy Gobert and John Collins. He is good at help side defense, so that allows him to cover up space quickly on defense. Martin's defensive rating is 104.1, which is outstanding for a rookie.

Hopefully, KJ becomes more well-rounded on offense, so he can become dominant. He is missing a versatile package. When KJ develops his game, he'll last longer in the NBA. Relying on athleticism, can shorten any NBA player's career. The best thing for KJ is to start early. KJ mentioned to me that he could possibly work out with Carmelo Anthony in the future after they lost to the Utah Jazz, so that's something that could help him down the road.

Despite the Rockets struggles of late, it'll be fun watching KJ and Porter develop and improve their game for the Rockets. The future has become bright for those two alongside Christian Wood.

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Houston loses in San Francisco

Astros drop back-and-forth middle game to Giants to even series

Houston's offense couldn't keep up with the Giants on Saturday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

With the impressive win in the opener to start the series, the Astros entered Saturday's middle game against the Giants with an opportunity to not just secure the series but surpass San Francisco for the best record in the league. They'd have to wait to take that crown, as the Giants would out-slug the Astros to even the series.

Final Score: Giants 8, Astros 6

Astros' Record: 64-41, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jay Jackson (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Blake Taylor (2-3)

Teams trade blows early, Giants chase Greinke out early

The teams traded blows early in this one, with the Giants tagging Zack Greinke with six runs, all on homers. The first was a solo shot in the bottom of the second to start the scoring before hitting one in each inning through the fourth: two-run blasts in the third and fourth, then a go-ahead solo shot in the bottom of the fifth, putting them ahead 6-5 at the time. Greinke would face one more batter, allowing a single to end his lackluster day: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 4 HR, 93 P.

Houston's offense kept things close to try and keep Greinke in a position to win, going up 3-1 in the third on a two-run Aledmys Diaz homer and another coming in on an error. After San Francisco scored four unanswered to make it 5-3, Diaz homered again in the top of the fifth to cut the deficit to one run before Yuli Gurriel would tie it with an RBI double.

Astros stay in it, but Giants even the series by winning the slug-fest

With Greinke exiting with no outs in the fifth, Houston handed the ball to Phil Maton, acquired in the recent Myles Straw trade, to make his debut for his new team. He worked himself into a jam, allowing a single and hitting a batter to load the bases with one out, but was able to get back-to-back strikeouts to strike out the side and strand all three runners, keeping it a one-run game.

That proved pivotal in the top of the sixth, as with two outs, Martin Maldonado would launch a game-tying solo homer, making it 6-6. Blake Taylor took over out of the bullpen in the bottom of the inning but would face just three batters, getting two outs while leaving one on as Dusty Baker moved on to Cristian Javier. Javier would watch the Giants retake the lead, getting back-to-back singles to bring in a run and make it 7-6.

Javier stayed in the game in the bottom of the seventh, allowing a leadoff single but erasing it by striking out the next three batters. Still a 7-6 game in the bottom of the eighth, Yimi Garcia made his Astros debut but did not keep the score there, allowing a leadoff solo homer to make it a two-run game. The 8-6 score would go final as Houston's offense came up empty again in the top of the ninth, setting up a rubber game in the finale.

Up Next: The series finale will get underway at 3:05 PM Central on Sunday in San Francisco. Luis Garcia (7-5, 3.19 ERA) will take the mound for Houston, going opposite Logan Webb (4-3, 3.36 ERA) for the Giants.

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