J.B. Bickerstaff says Craig Porter Jr. has earned chance to be permanent part of Cavs rotation

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Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff recently said that rookie Craig Porter Jr. has earned a shot to be a permanent member of the team’s rotation.

The rookie has played very productive basketball for the past week. He’s reached double digits in scoring in each of the Cavaliers’ last four games, which have come against the Detroit Pistons, Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat.

Arguably his best performance during the stretch came against the Nuggets on Nov. 19. In 25 minutes off the bench, he scored 21 points while shooting 7-of-10 from the field and 7-of-7 from the free-throw line. Plus, he finished with four rebounds, four assists and two steals in a game the Cavaliers won at home by 12 points.

In 10 appearances with the Cavaliers this season, Porter is averaging 8.0 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game while shooting an efficient 54.4 percent from the floor.

After starting the season out 2-4, the Cavaliers have since bounced back by winning six out of their last nine games. They now own an 8-7 record, which is the eighth-best record in the Eastern Conference.

But for as well as the Cavaliers have been playing lately, they put together a subpar performance against the Heat on Nov. 22. Cleveland lost by a whopping 33 points in a game that was decided well before the final buzzer sounded.

In Donovan Mitchell’s absence, Porter led the Cavaliers in scoring. He ended up with 16 points while shooting 6-of-12 from the field and 2-of-5 from 3-point range.

As for the opposition, floor general Kyle Lowry scored a team-high 28 points in just 29 minutes of playing time for the Heat. He was one of eight players for Miami to score 10 points or more against Cleveland.

Porter has proven that he has the scoring and playmaking chops to serve as a valuable role player off the bench for Cleveland. It will be interesting to see if the rookie can reach double digits in scoring for the fifth game in a row against the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.

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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.