The Cleveland Cavaliers have endured a nightmare season to this point; not only have they lost Darius Garland and Evan Mobley to injuries over the past few weeks, Donovan Mitchell has routinely been missing games as well. In fact, Mitchell missed the Cavs’ Wednesday night contest against the Dallas Mavericks. But in the spirit of defiance, the Cavs have remained competitive, and it’s thanks in large part to the emergence of unheralded rookie Craig Porter Jr.

Porter started making waves for the Cavs in Summer League, but now, with a prominent role in the rotation up for grabs due to the team’s injury woes, the 23-year old is seizing his opportunity. In the Cavs’ 113-110 victory over the Mavs, Porter put up nine points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and three steals, continuing his trend of solid production whenever gets the minutes.

In fact, according to StatMuse, Craig Porter Jr. is now the only current rookie in the NBA to put up at least 10 points, five rebounds, and five assists in starts — besting the likes of more ballyhooed rookies such as Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren.

Of course, Porter’s role on the Cavs is different to that of Wembanyama’s and Holmgren’s for the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder, respectively. The first pick of the 2023 NBA Draft has shown promise as a playmaker, but he’s a play-finisher first and foremost, while Holmgren, the presumptive favorite to win the 2024 Rookie of the Year award, doesn’t need to fill a major playmaking role due to the presence of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Nevertheless, it puts in perspective just how great of a get Craig Porter Jr. has been for the Cavs. He did go undrafted after all, and the success rate on undrafted players is closer to zero percent than it is to one. Talent evaluators value athleticism and projectable skill more than anything, but Porter has shown that he can contribute in multiple facets of the game by knowing how to play winning basketball.

It’s too big of an ask for Porter to continue playing at this level for the shorthanded Cavs. But at this point, there’s no doubting what the young gun is capable of on the court.