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.
Unbelievable finish from KPJ https://t.co/nAJWPBb7um— Jackson Gatlin (@Jackson Gatlin) 1615612035.0
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.
According to @nbastats, Jae’ Sean Tate and KPJ have a connection. KPJ pass frequency is 18% towards Tate, including… https://t.co/WTOKCcjzS2— Zachary Allen (@Zachary Allen) 1615834475.0
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.
So KPJ is better after putting the ball on the floor and stepping back. Hmmm. https://t.co/nlXNXzq6yy— Jackson Gatlin (@Jackson Gatlin) 1615768615.0
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.
KJ Martin HAMMERS it home and receives a technical. https://t.co/komSe8wMZQ— Jackson Gatlin (@Jackson Gatlin) 1615942472.0
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.
KJ CHOSE VIOLENCE https://t.co/8bKVqkfkRz— Jackson Gatlin (@Jackson Gatlin) 1615946435.0
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.
KJ MARTIN: GIANT SLAYER https://t.co/QkvJP1sjvP— Jackson Gatlin (@Jackson Gatlin) 1615774133.0
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.
With a new season on the horizon, the Astros have high hopes for 2024 after coming just one game shy of being in the World Series for three consecutive seasons.
If Houston wants to get back to the Fall Classic in 2024, they're going to have to rely on their pitching. Owner Jim Crane believes the club has 8 starting pitchers when Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers Jr. return mid-season.
Which allows several of the starters to move to the bullpen and provide even more depth. Add those guys to Bryan Abreu, Ryan Pressly, and Josh Hader and you have a recipe for success.
Check out the video above as ESPN Houston's Jeremy Branham goes through the entire staff and makes his case for the Astros having the best pitching staff in baseball.
You can listen to The Killer B's with Jeremy Branham and Joel Blank every weekday on ESPN 97.5 & 92.5 from 3 pm - 6 pm!