After the complicated drama that occurred in the Houston Rockets camp last week, head coach Stephen Silas still has a soft spot on Kevin Porter Jr.
And amid the tons of circumstances, the faith still remains for the talented cager to turn things around.
As he addressed the media before the Rockets’ upcoming clash against the Philadelphia 76ers, Silas stressed out his perspective on Porter Jr.
“My job is to hold people accountable to their actions and not overreact at all, but react appropriately,” said Silas, via Ben DuBose of Rockets Wire.
“These are very different circumstances that are being lumped together. As far as Kevin, we had a spirited debate. He lost his temper at halftime to the point where I thought it would be best for our team and culture for him to be suspended for today’s game.”
Porter Jr., along with Christian Wood, was recently suspended upon demonstrating poor behavior in the franchise’s recent defeat against the Denver Nuggets, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The point guard was reportedly angered when challenged to exert more effort and had a heated exchange with Houston assistant John Lucas III, which resulted in the former leaving the arena in the midgame.
“He (Porter) is emotional. He’s a competitor. Kevin is a good kid. He owns up to his mistakes when he makes them, and tries not to make those mistakes again. We put a lot into him. We knew that he had a past before he came here, but there are consequences. He crossed a line, and he’ll be back.”
Porter Jr. has well-documented emotional and maturity issues throughout his career, perhaps rooted in his father’s murder when he was still young. In his college days, USC Trojans coach Andy Enfield opted to suspend him for personal conduct issues, which ultimately lowered his value on the 2018 NBA Draft flared up by inconsistencies. In his time initially with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team which drafted him for the 30th pick of the draft, he had criminal conduct due to a car accident and having illegal possession of firearms and marijuana. More notably, a bursting incident when his locker was moved upon the Cavs’ acquisition of Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince fired him to the Clutch City last season.
Porter Jr. easily found a home in Houston – the city which embraced him after all. After showing signs that he is a star in the making, especially when he dropped 50 points and 11 assists last year against the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks, people are truly convinced of his promising future.
“This (Rockets) organization saved my life, potentially,” Porter Jr. said. “I just love being here and I want to be here for a while. I needed a new scenery and they picked me up when I was down.”
– Kevin Porter, via Matt Young of the Houston Chronicle
Yet, in spite of the accumulation of these unwanted events from the past, Silas, on behalf of the franchise, stands firmly on the 21-year-old’s progress. Having an opportunity to play and hold the keys as the future floor general of the club isn’t easy this 2021-2022 campaign, but with his immense talent, he can easily transcend once he commits himself to the craft and to the daunting process.
“We still love him, we’ll still grow with him. Everything will be okay. This shouldn’t be blown out of proportion. It should be a bump in the road.”