One big talking point about this new Bulls team is the lack of floor spacing. With the acquisitions of guards Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade, the Bulls now have a starting backcourt who shot an average three-point percentage of 26.2%. Combine that with Jimmy Butler, who at 31.2% doesn't shoot the ball particularly well either, and you have major spacing issues. When all three are on the court, it will be easy for the defenses just to play off each one of them and dare them to shoot. The chances of each of those three catching fire from deep are very rare. We saw it last year with Wade in the playoffs, but before then he had only made seven 3-point shots all season.
Both Wade and Butler are great at driving to the basket and can create offense off pick and rolls. But with defenses sagging off, running into a lane filled with defenders isn't probably the best shot to take on a given possession. Rondo isn't much of a scorer so most defenses will probably give him the "Tony Allen" treatment and just not even guard him.
This predicament leaves Fred Hoiberg searching for ways to get his team open shots from deep. A lot of Hoiberg's offensive system relies on playing fast and shooting a lot of shots. In the 2013-14 season, the year that Hoiberg had his best record at Iowa State (28-8), the Cyclones attempted 2239 shots. That was the third most shot attempts in the entire country. His ideal philosophy would be for his teams to get as many shots up as they can and as quickly as they can. But with the likes of Rondo and Wade on the court, that likely won't be the case. Hoiberg will have to change his offensive system but even if he does, the concern of three-point shooting is still there. The Bulls have Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic as their go-to options when it comes to shooting but you can't only have two guys shooting the ball from deep.
That is where the potential of using Bobby Portis as a 3-point threat comes in.
Portis showed in Summer League that he could possibly use the 3-point shot in his game this season. He didn't have it last year, shooting only 30.8% on 52 attempts, but he showed a big improvement in Vegas. Portis shot 41.7% from deep in SL and helped Chicago space the floor considering they didn't have a lot of shooters, to begin with. If Portis can continue this shooting development into his second season as an NBA With the obvious spacing issues in the Bulls offense, Hoiberg should use Portis to help conquer those issues.
The real dilemma would be to what position he can play, and and who you can play him with.
Portis's natural position is at power forward, but with Mirotic and Gibson there already, Fred Hoiberg may have to opt to slide Mirotic over to the 3 spot to accommodate Portis at the 4. That way, with both Portis and Mirotic on the floor, the Bulls have two big men who can shoot from the outside and stretch out the defense. Playing Portis at the 5 could be an option but with the way Cristiano Felicio has been playing, he deserves minutes over Portis. And playing both Mirotic and Portis on the floor as the big men is going to be trouble. If Hoiberg does opt to play Portis at the 5, playing him alongside Gibson would be the best fit. Gibson would help Portis on defense and give the Bulls an inside presence.
Bobby Portis will likely play in the post for much of the season but it is looking like he is trying to make the three-point shot more apart of his game. In a year where Fred Hoiberg will really have to tweak his system and get smart about his lineups, he can try and play Portis in a role where he can help spread out the defenses. Portis could give the Bulls some shooting. Something that they really need heading into the season.