Kevin Porter Jr.: ‘A lot of people say I’m one of most talented in the draft’
A six-pack of Heat notes on a Monday:
▪ After spending these final couple of weeks in May traversing the country to attend agent-organized workouts of draft prospects, the Heat will begin hosting players for individual workouts and interviews in June.
And count Southern California guard Kevin Porter Jr. among those who have booked a visit to Heat headquarters, according to a league source.
We’re told the Heat is intrigued by the scoring ability, athleticism and high ceiling of Porter. But Miami needs a comfort level with a player whose limited body of work includes a brief suspension and only 21 college games.
“Kevin is really talented,” ESPN draft analyst Mike Schmitz said. “I’m based out in L.A., so I got a chance to see him quite a bit. I think he’s one of the more talented scorers in the Draft, if you’re looking at sheer talent. Physically, 6’5”, 6’10” wingspan. He checks all of the boxes there.
“For him, it’s about the interview process, answering why he had such an uneven season at USC, why he got suspended, why he wasn’t able to show much consistency. I think that’s what teams want to figure out about him because some days he looks like a top five pick, and some days he looks like a guy that you don’t want to invest your draft pick in.
“So I think for him it’s about going to a situation where he has veterans and he has support and the team is able to help him just stay on a consistent path in terms of getting better every day.”
The Heat would offer him such a situation.
It’s questionable if Porter will be available when Miami picks 13th in the June 20 draft. That could be determined by how his interviews and workouts go with teams in the coming weeks.
Porter averaged 9.5 points per game and shot 47.1 percent from the field and 41.2 percent — 28 for 68 — on three-pointers last season. He has ideal NBA size for shooting guard at 6-6.
▪ According to a league source, a contingent of seven Heat officials –including president Pat Riley – attended Priority Sports’ Chicago workout on Friday for nine prospects:
Gonzaga forward Brandon Clarke, Purdue two-time All American guard Carsen Edwards, Maryland power forward Bruno Fernando, Wisconsin power forward Ethan Happ, Virginia guard Ty Jerome, Nebraska forward Isaiah Roby, Tennessee swingman Admiral Schofield, DePaul guard Max Strus and Belmont swingman Dylan Windler, who averaged 21.3 points and shot 43 percent on threes last season.
Clarke likely would be the only one of those nine in the mix for the Heat’s pick at No. 13. Miami also reportedly will bring Clarke to AmericanAirlines Arena for a private visit and workout.
Clarke averaged 16.9 points and 8.9 rebounds last season while shooting 68.7 percent from the field, with most of those shots coming around the basket. He’s a high energy player who might need to expand his range; he shot 4 for 15 on threes.
▪ Clarke isn’t the only Gonzaga player that Miami is looking at closely. According to Heatbeat’s Greg Sylvander, Miami will get a look at Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura during a Tuesday workout in Santa Monica. Hachimura could be gone by 13; colleague Anthony Chiang wrote about him here.
▪ Encouraging to see Dion Waiters posting Instagram photos of his grueling summer workouts on the track and at the beach. As Waiters assured me in March, he’s going to get into shape and come back like an “action figure” next season.
Erik Spoelstra has said he needs to return in better condition to have the role he wants.
Meanwhile, several Heat players have been working out Mondays through Thursdays at AA Arena, a group including – at various times - Josh Richardson, Derrick Jones Jr., Kelly Olynyk, Yante Maten, Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn.
▪ In individual drills with teammates, Maten has been working hard on defense and polishing his three-point shot after shooting 32.7 percent on threes for the Heat’s G-League team in South Dakota last season. He’s now at 238 pounds after coming to the Combine at 255 a year ago.
Maten was living with Olynyk for a few weeks but is now living on his own. The Heat believes Maten has a real chance to develop into a rotation player.
“He’s got a great offensive skill set,” Spoelstra said. “You can’t teach that kind of touch for somebody of his size.”
▪ The Heat will bring in Texas Tech guard Matt Mooney for a workout, according to ESPN 99.1 FM in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Mooney was named to the Big 12’s All Defense team and averaged 11.3 points and shot 38.6 percent on threes for the Red Raiders last season. Mooney, who previously played at Air Force and South Dakota, scored 22 points in a Final Four semifinal win against Michigan State in April and had 10 points (4 for 9 shooting) and three assists and two steals in the national championship game loss to Virginia.
“As of right now I don’t know that I’ll be drafted,” he told that South Dakota radio station. “My ceiling right now would be late second round, but I am hoping to earn a Summer League roster spot with a team and compete for a two-way contract.”