If you’ve read my earlier pieces on Back Sports Page, you may have come across a piece titled “The Houston Rockets Don’t Need Kevin Porter Jr.” This was a piece citing his lack of fit on the team, due to his inconsistency as the point guard along with his off court behavior over the last couple of seasons. Since the Rockets have a plethora of draft picks over the next few years, they could head to the lottery and draft a first round pure point guard to compliment their young core. At the time, it was believable that this take on KPJ was valid. After media day 1, I am relieved that I might be wrong.
This is my apology.
Best for Last
Kevin Porter Jr. was the last Rocket to take questions on the first media day. As soon as he walked in, you could feel his positive attitude and charisma before he sat down. His comfort permeated through the room. There was a sense of positivity and humbleness about him. Finally, questions asked about his status as a Houston Rocket:
“I stopped worrying about that last year,” KPJ said. I still got the mindset. I got a team that represents me and they handle that part, for me I just come in here and try to be the best player. It hasn’t been weighing on me. That’s my mindset.”
Hearing this from KPJ speaks volumes into his attitude on his work ethic. His performance and chemistry with the rest of his teammates dictate is fit on the team. This will give Rafael Stone an easier decision on whether or not he will get a contract extension. Houston’s goal is figuring out who are the right pieces for this rebuild in order to transform themselves back into playoff contention. You can tell KPJ is speaking from a sincere place when he talks about how much he’s developed as a person off the court:
“Being in the space I am now and looking back its a beautiful space to be in,” KPJ muttered. “Waking up everyday I found joy in drinking water, being able to walk and run. Once I was able to account the small things being a blessing again it just helped me with every aspect of my life. The Rockets gave me an opportunity. Honestly just reevaluating myself on where I am today and where I want to be and the things I need to do in order to get who I want to become.”
Shortly after, the young point guard mentioned something that really struck the entire room.
“Awareness is the hardest part of growth and elevation, and what happened was I just got sick of being in my own way.”
KPJ nailed it on the head with these responses. In life, things get more mundane as you age. You start to stop appreciating the little things in life and eventually take them for granted. Being content in life takes appreciation and gratitude, especially for those little things. It’s much easier to get upset at every obstacle in your way. You start to only appreciating the bigger goals, but it in order to achieve the long term goals, short term goals need to happen. Taking account of all the little things in life, much like a short term goal, goes a long way. Once that happens, the long term goal appears less harder to reach.
If this was 2k, Chemistry and Morale would numerically skyrocket with these responses to the staff, players, and reporters. That’s pretty much what Kevin Porter Jr. did; video game numbers. But how will this new attitude on life translate on the court? There lies the significance of chemistry. Basketball teams do not flourish well without good team chemistry. KPJ mentioned on how he was able to slow the game down the stretch with his backcourt mate Jalen Green. This improved chemistry is the momentum carry through the summer and into the 2022-2023 season. The chemistry they’ve attained together over the last year will potentially produce better results on the floor.
Extend him? Why not?
After getting to really know KPJ in a press conference scene, I might actually consider extending him if I was in Rafael Stone’s shoes. The young point guard has clearly taken into account of his behavior and is extremely motivated to play well for his team. In general, the impact of this growth off the court translates well on the court. And, it’s contagious.