Kevin Porter Jr.’s 50-pointer a breakout game for the ages

Kevin Porter Jr. after scoring 50 points in Rockets-Bucks
Robert Seale/NBAE via Getty Images
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Kevin Porter Jr. entered the NBA in 2019 as the most-expensive purchased pick in league history ($5 million by the Cavaliers). He took an extremely rare discount on his rookie-scale contract. He got suspended for bumping a referee while running up court. He forgot to wear his jersey, realized just before tip-off and lost his starting spot. He got arrested on weapons charges (which were later dropped). He missed the first several weeks of this season due to personal issues. He reportedly threw a food-throwing tantrum in Cleveland’s locker room, including yelling at Cavs general manager Koby Altman. Porter got traded to the Rockets. He reportedly got roughed up while intervening as Houston teammate Sterling Brown got jumped outside a Miami strip club. Porter got fined for violating the NBA’s coronavirus protocols that night.

Porter has made many headlines in his short career – few of them about his play on the court.

Until last night.

Porter scored 50 points in the Rockets’ win over the Bucks. He abused Milwaukee’s switching bigs with pull-up 3-pointers, attacked the rim with his crafty ball-handling and just got really hot.

This wasn’t quite the most surprising 50-point game in NBA history. But it was close.

Porter averaged just 10.0 points per game in 50 games with the Cavaliers last season and was averaging 15.2 points per game in 22 contests with Houston.

A whopping 5.66% of his career points came last night!

Brandon Jennings famously scored 55 points in his seventh game. Wilt Chamberlain scored 55 in his eighth game (after warming up with three 40-point games and four other 30-point games). Elvin Hayes scored 54 points in his 13th game en route to winning the scoring title as a rookie. Rick Barry scored 57 points in his 30th game.

But Porter accounted for the highest portion of his career scoring in a 50-point game among non-rookies, narrowly eclipsing Terrence Ross51-point game with the Raptors in 2014.

Here’s everyone to score at least 3% of his career points to date in a 50-point game:

Porter’s 50-pointer was a special performance because it’s such an outlier for him.

But 20-year-old is highly talented. With 11 assists too, he just completely controlled Houston’s offense against one of the league’s better defenses. For numerous reasons, he hadn’t hit his groove in the NBA.

This is the strongest sign yet of his upside if he figures things out.