Former NBA executive says Cavs 2-way gem from Summer League had scouts raving

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William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

Former NBA executive John Hollinger revealed that scouts were impressed with Cleveland Cavaliers’ two-way player Craig Porter Jr. during Summer League.

“But the player who had scouts talking was Porter, an undrafted player from Wichita State [University] whom I didn’t see on any top-100 lists coming into the draft,” Hollinger wrote. “That, quite simply, was an oversight.”

Porter was instrumental for the Cavs in leading the team to a Summer League title this offseason. While the team had key players such as Isaiah Mobley and Emoni Bates garnering a lot of the attention, Porter is looking like a solid pickup for Cleveland.

“He didn’t shoot well at summer league (1 of 11 from 3), but he did so much in so many other areas that he still helped Cleveland win the title,” Hollinger wrote. “Porter shot 53 percent inside the arc, handed out 32 assists against just 15 turnovers and swarmed the glass (13.7 percent rebound rate! He’s 6-2!) while proving a solid defender.”

After spending three seasons at Wichita State University, Porter went undrafted in the 2023 NBA Draft. During his collegiate career at Wichita State, he started 56 of the 75 games he appeared in while playing 26.1 minutes per game.

Last season, Porter averaged a career-high 13.5 points per game while shooting 47.8 percent from the field and 36.3 percent from beyond the arc. He’s a terrific rebounder for his size, averaging 6.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game last season as well.

While Porter may not have a major role in the Cavs’ rotation in the 2023-24 season, he seems to be a solid developmental piece for the team going forward. At the very least, he gives the Cavs depth behind Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland as a backcourt option.

Hollinger also praised Mobley while calling him and Porter two of the best two-way contracts in the NBA.

“Cleveland may have the best two-ways in the league,” Hollinger wrote. “Holdover center Isaiah Mobley, the 49th pick in 2022, was arguably the best big man at summer league and seems likely to graduate to a roster contract at some point this coming season.”

The Cavs added a bunch of talent to their roster in the offseason by agreeing to a sign-and-trade for Max Strus and signing free agent forward Georges Niang.

However, the team also appears to have found an under-the-radar pickup in Porter that could be important in future seasons.

Cleveland is looking to build on a strong 2022-23 campaign where it finished with the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference. While the team lost to the New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs, the 2022-23 season was a solid stepping stone for a Cavs franchise that hadn’t made the playoffs since LeBron James left for the Los Angeles Lakers.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.