What Craig Porter Jr. can bring to the Cavs
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ roster continued to take shape after the 2023 NBA Draft with a new signee.
Wichita State guard Craig Porter Jr. signed a two-way contract with the Cavs upon the completion of the 2023 NBA Draft, according to an article from Cleveland.com Cavs reporter Chris Fedor.
“Moments after the 2023 NBA Draft completed with the Milwaukee Bucks making the final pick, the Cavs agreed to a two-way contract with undrafted free agent guard Craig Porter Jr., sources tell cleveland.com,” wrote Fedor.
The Cavaliers roster continued to form as Auburn guard Wendell Green Jr. signed a Summer League deal on Friday and North Carolina forward Pete Nance signed an Exhibit 10 contract on Saturday. Nance, the son of former Cavs forward Larry Nance Sr., averaged 10 points, six rebounds and 1.7 assists per game in his lone season with the Tar Heels. The 6-foot-11-inch forward spent his previous four seasons at Northwestern before transferring to North Carolina in 2022.
What can Porter bring to the Cavaliers and the Cleveland Charge?
Craig Porter Jr. is a 6-foot-2-inch guard from Terre Haute, Ind. He played at Vincennes University, a junior college located in Vincennes, Ind., before he enrolled with Wichita State in 2020. He would spend three seasons with the Shockers, seeing his averages improve to 13.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.5 steals per game during his final year with the team. He led Wichita State in rebounds, assists, steals and blocks per game last season.
While he saw his field goal percentage improve from 38.9% in the 2020-21 season to 47.8% last year, his 3-point fluctuated as he advanced through is college career. He shot at a comfortable 36.3% from the 3-point line last season, slightly above the 35.8% average he earned during his three years in Wichita.
“Two-way” contracts, which were first implemented in the 2017 offseason, allow players to spend time with both an NBA franchise and its G League affiliate. Players with two-way contracts can be active for up to 50 games with their respective NBA franchise, according to the G League’s website. Only players with three or fewer years in the NBA are able to sign Two-Way Contracts.
The NBA’s newest collective bargaining agreement made room for a third two-way spot. Forwards Isaiah Mobley and Mamadi Diakite took the team’s two two-way spots last season. The pair saw time in a combined 35 games for the Cavaliers. Diakite earned two starts, once in a 28-point win over the Philadelphia 76ers in November and again in an 11-point loss to the New York Knicks in December.
The Cavaliers signed forward Lamar Stevens to a two-way deal in 2020 after he spent four seasons with the Penn State Nittany Lions. He signed a multiple-year contract with Cleveland in 2021, leading to a blossoming career with the Cavaliers that saw him be a vocal leader and a reliable rebounder off the bench.
The Cavs and the Charge can use a player with the all-around skillset Porter possesses.
Porter worked out for the Golden State Warriors in May, highlighting his all-around game as he met with the media following his pre-draft workout.
“I get a lot of (Chicago Bulls guard) Lonzo Ball, and I see it,” Porter said when asked who he compares his game to, via NBA.com. “Being able to defend one through three, maybe even some fours. Just using my strength, using my shot-blocking ability. Being a great point guard, court vision, being able to shoot the ball, really just a lot of everything. Not being a one-dimensional player.”
Porter’s took pride in his competitiveness and his ability to continue fighting even as situations didn’t go his way during his workout, a value Cleveland could use to continue the Cavs’ mentality instilled by the “Junkyard Dog” chain and beyond.
“Even when things weren’t going my way, I just kept fighting through it,” Porter said. “Everybody in the workout just kept encouraging each other, talking to each other. Just helping one-another out. I just feel like we all just helped and led each other in the right way.”
The Charge ended last season with a record of 18-14 behind the stellar play of Mobley, Diakite and guard Sharife Cooper. Cooper, a 6-foot-1-inch guard and a former second-round selection by the Atlanta Hawks, led the team with 21.3 points per game despite shooting at an inefficient 43% from the field and 31.6% from 3-point range. Mobley led the team in rebounds with 8.6 per game and placed second on the roster with four assists per contest.
Guards Darius Garland and Ricky Rubio will be under contract for the Cavaliers next season, according to sports contract and salary website Spotrac. Guard Raul Neto, who played in 48 games and started in one for the Cavs last season, is listed as an unrestricted free agent in 2023.
Having a guard who can be a solid all-around presence on both of Cleveland’s rosters can help in continuing to build a more solidified foundation under the Cavs’ starting five. Whether Cooper, Mobley and Diakite return to the Charge’s roster next season and forward Emoni Bates finds a spot of his own, head coach Mike Gerrity and the Charge can have plenty of talent to tap into when the G League season begins on November 10.
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Author: Alex Sabri