With the 22nd pick in the 2015 NBA draft, the Chicago Bulls selected 6'11 PF Bobby Portis out of Arkansas.
What was thought to be a "steal" selection at 22, Bobby Portis hasn't begun his career the way the Bulls Front office envisioned when Adam Silver called his name.
The Bulls front office has had a recent history of questionable draft picks that haven't panned out (IE Marquis Teague, Tony Snell, Doug McDermott, Bobby Portis, Denzel Valentine)- However the 2015 SEC Player of the Year seemed to have been a bright spot on fading Bulls team.
During his rookie season, the former Razorback brought energy (and crazy eyes) off of the bench and played without fear. Portis, 22, had a lot of confidence in his game, appearing in 62 for the Rookie Coach Fred Hoiberg, starting 4 of those games. In just 17.8 minutes per game, he averaged 7 points per game as well as 5.4 rebounds. The big man gave the Bulls a big man who had the threat of connecting from long range.
Following the 2015-2016 season, both the Bulls Front Office as well as Bulls fans had high hopes for Portis entering his second season, however 57 games into the 2016-2017 season, Bobby has only appeared in 39 games and has seen his playing time drop to only 12 minutes per game. Portis’s scoring has fallen below 5 points per game however he is connecting on 36% of his three-point attempts. It is not easy for the younger players on the Bulls to get into a groove, as they never know when they will be in the lineup. Players like Denzel Valentine, Jerian Grant and Portis can start one game, and then find themselves glues to the bench with 5 DNP-CD’s in a row.
With limited playing time, Portis still has an extremely high level of confidence in his abilities.
In a winning effort vs the Boston Celtics on February 16th, Crazy Eyes came off of the bench while Nikola Mirotic was dealing with back spasms and played 26 minutes while shooting 8-of-13 from the floor for a total of 19 points and 8 rebounds. On February 12th vs the Minnesota Timberwolves Protis also had a strong effort off of the bench scoring 16 points (6-of-11) in 31 minutes in a blowout loss. With 2 strong efforts before the All-Star Break, Portis may get some extended playing time as the final 25 games of the season approach especially if any players such as Nikola Mirotic, Taj Gibson or Robin Lopez are moved before February 23rd trade deadline.
Bobby Portis is by no means a “bust” just yet, as he is still only 22 years old. It took now 3 time All-Star Jimmy Butler nearly 3 seasons to find consistency in his abilities in the NBA. Portis never complains about playing time, and always stays ready for whenever it is that Fred Hoiberg will call his name on the end of the bench. It’s hard to tell who Bobby Portis is on the floor/bench right now, but for Gar Forman and John Paxson’s sake, they’d better hope he is more successful than their other recent draft selections.