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Rockets coach Stephen Silas impressed by skills, playmaking of Kevin Porter Jr.

Count Houston Rockets head coach Stephen Silas as among those impressed by the performance of second-year guard Kevin Porter Jr. during the NBA G League’s abbreviated bubble season in Florida.

Porter is playing with the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Vipers, who are the  G League affiliate organization of the Rockets. As such, RGV utilizes systems and schemes that should have those players more ready to contribute to the parent NBA club, if needed.

When asked Sunday about Porter’s showings with the Vipers, Silas said:

He’s moving in the right direction. He’s playing the point, pretty much exclusively, and making plays for himself and for his teammates.

He’s super skilled. His ball-handling is good. At some point, when he gets back, he’ll be a part of what we’re doing. But him getting in shape, and getting game reps and having the success that he’s having down there is important. And it’s important to build on that. It’s very similar (the system) to what we do, so when he gets back, hopefully he’ll be able to fit right in.

Whenever Porter rejoins the Rockets for the 2020-21 season, he is likely to be initially used by Silas as a reserve option behind backcourt veterans John Wall, Victor Oladipo and Eric Gordon.

The Rockets traded for Porter in January and assigned him to the Vipers later in the month. In eight outings with RGV, the 20-year-old has averaged 22.8 points (42.3% FG), 6.9 assists and 4.6 rebounds in 34.6 minutes per game. Earlier Sunday, Porter dished 12 assists for the Vipers, representing his most in any single game as a professional.

For the Rockets, Porter is the highest-profile player on RGV’s roster. After being selected in the first round of the 2019 NBA draft, the 6-foot-4 lefty averaged 10.0 points in 23.2 minutes per game during his rookie season with the Cavaliers. However, his 2020-21 activities in Cleveland were extremely limited due to numerous personal issues.

Since Porter’s acquisition in mid-January, Silas has stressed the importance of a slow reintegration plan, and time at the developmental bubble near Orlando is part of that process. Though the G League season runs through early March, the Rockets could conceivably bring Porter back to the NBA at any time before then.

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