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USC Basketball: Non-lottery Destinations for Kevin Porter Jr.

We’ve already gone over potential lottery destinations for Kevin Porter Jr. in this June’s NBA draft. However, as the draft is littered with question marks outside of the top three, Porter may drop out of the lottery. These locations should fit him best.

NCAA Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Tournament-Arizona vs USC Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

In a previous piece, I evaluated Kevin Porter Jr.’s stock and listed the top three locations for him in the lottery. In short, Porter Jr. is a wing with supreme confidence and shot-creating ability. With NBA athleticism (a crazy 5.1% body fast listed from the combine), he uses his handle to create space and score, a la Zach Lavine. As a 6-foot-6, 218 pound wing, Porter Jr. could slot is as a shooting guard or small forward, depending on the team.

In a draft without consensus outside the top three, there is an off-chance that Porter Jr. could fall out of the lottery. Just look at how Robert Williams, last year’s 27th pick, fell in last year’s draft. Draft history is unkind to those with potential maturity issues. These are the teams that Porter Jr. is the best fit for outside of the lottery:

1. Detroit Pistons (Fifteenth Pick)

The Detroit Pistons are in an unenviable spot right now. With a new arena, then head Stan Van Gundy swung a trade for Blake Griffin, hoping to bring star power to a roster screaming for talent. The result is a team stuck in the middle tier of the NBA, and with Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond taking up more than 45 percent of the salary cap, the Pistons are cap-strapped to find improvement. The NBA is a league centered around guard and wing play, and the Pistons are all in on an old school center and a point forward.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Charlotte Hornets Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Enter Porter Jr. He can moonlight as a Demar DeRozan-esque second ball-handler in Dwayne Casey’s system and brings a spark to an oft rudderless offense. His shot creation would lessen the burden on Griffin, who’s workload effectively ended his season in 2019. And though Porter Jr. is listed as a shooting guard, his dribble-heavy slashing game meshes well with Luke Kennard, who can still develop into an effective three-ball shooter. Against smaller teams like Houston, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Detroit field Porter Jr. as a small forward: he certainly has the size and athleticism to check most threes.

Porter Jr.’s shot creation and athleticism would certainly benefit Detroit, though questions would linger about whether his skill set would be repetitive with incumbent shooting guard Bruce Brown.

2. Brooklyn Nets (Seventeenth Pick)

The Brooklyn Nets are at once the perfect spot and a strange spot for Porter Jr. Brooklyn plays like the Rockets of the East, attacking the rim and taking the fifth most threes per game. This would be an adjustment in discipline for the former Trojan whose penchant for tough two’s does not lead to the highest percentage shots.

Porter Jr.’s shot selection does not preclude him from fitting into the Nets’ system. This past season, D’Angelo Russell was able to play his game while orchestrating a much improved Nets offense. He still took his share of long two’s, but found success as a three-point shooter and creative finishing. With coaching from Kenny Atkinson, perhaps Porter Jr. could mold his game in a similar fashion. For the Nets, such a transformation would land Porter Jr. as a cheaper Allen Crabbe, an effective two way wing.

3. Orlando Magic (Sixteenth Pick)

The Magic are in an interesting place in terms of team construction. Their most promising pieces are bigs in Mo Bamba, Aaron Gordon, and Jonathan Isaac. None of them are capable of being full-time ball handlers. And if the Magic bring back Nikola Vucevic, the youngsters will have limited minutes, robbing us from intriguing lineups featuring Isaac at center.

As a member of the Magic, Porter Jr. would be featured in more of a ball-handling role. Mystery man Markelle Fultz is a combo guard who the Magic are hoping can become a ball handler and creator for the young Magic bigs. Porter Jr. could add another wrinkle, allowing Magic coach Steve Clifford to juggle lineups with multiple ball handlers.