Emoni Bates co-signs major praise for Cavs rookie Craig Porter Jr.

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William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Emoni Bates recently took to X (formerly known as Twitter) and offered his belief that undrafted rookie Craig Porter Jr. could have a real future in the NBA.

Porter went undrafted in the 2023 NBA Draft after spending three seasons playing college basketball at Wichita State University. His first season with the team, the 2020-21 season, was forgettable, as he averaged 2.1 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game in 19 appearances with the Shockers.

It wasn’t until Porter’s third and final season with the Shockers, the 2022-23 season, that he established himself as a solid college basketball. He averaged 13.5 points, 4.9 assists, 6.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game and shot 47.8 percent from the field across 31 appearances.

Meanwhile, Bates was selected with the No. 49 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft after playing two seasons of college basketball — one at the University of Memphis and one at Eastern Michigan University.

Bates underperformed in his freshman season with the Tigers, as he averaged just 9.7 points per game and converted 38.6 of his field-goal attempts in 18 games with the Tigers (13 starts).

But in his sophomore season with the Eagles, Bates established himself as one of the better forwards in the nation. He averaged 19.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game for the Eagles during the 2022-23 season while shooting 78.2 percent from the free-throw line.

Arguably Bates’ best game as an Eagle came against the University of Toledo back in January of 2023. He finished the game with a whopping 43 points and converted 15 of his 23 field-goal attempts, including nine of his 14 3-pointers. The Eagles still wound up losing to the Rockets by a final score of 84-79, though.

The 6-foot-9 forward’s contributions on the offensive side of the ball didn’t translate into collective success for the 2022-23 iteration of the Eagles. They finished the season with a poor 8-23 record.

Considering Porter is signed to a two-way contract, which limits the number of regular-season games he can participate in with the Cavaliers, don’t expect him to log many minutes with the team as a rookie. But Porter has the potential to evolve into a quality NBA player in a few years.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer at SB Nation’s CelticsBlog and The Knicks Wall.