After missing seven contests with his second major injury of the season (this time an ankle issue), Bobby Portis returned against the Brooklyn Nets pouring in 17 points on 6-for-11 from the field and grabbing five rebounds. It was for naught; however, as the Bulls unceremoniously fell 117-100 at the United Center.
Here’s what we saw from Portis in his return.
Same Old Bobby
Portis is a gunner.
Per 36 minutes, he has averaged the third highest shot attempts among Bulls players this season at 17.3 (Zach LaVine and Antonio Blakeney average more shots per 36 minutes than him respectively). Portis picked up right where he left off on Sunday, casting 11 shots in 20 minutes of playing time which was significantly higher than any other player on the Bulls second unit.
And you know what? At this point, I don’t think anybody will question that because the Bulls are so devoid of talent offensively on their second unit. Among Bulls reserves, Robin Lopez tallied the second-highest points to Portis’ 17 with six points on 3-for-4 from the field.
Against the Nets, Portis’ usage percentage was a hefty, game-high 31.7 percent.
Portis needs to continue to build chemistry with some of the other high usage players on this team though. He had a net rating of -34.8 in 15 minutes with Kris Dunn (-9.7 for the season) and a -23.5 net rating in 15 minutes with LaVine last night (-9.2 for the season).
All but one of Portis’s shot attempts came from within the paint or behind the 3-point line. As a pick-and-pop option from deep range, Portis continues to get better. He shot 3-for-4 from behind the 3-point line yesterday afternoon and although he hasn’t consistently found his rhythm from deep this season (32.1 percent) he’s coming off a season last year where he shot a career high 35.9 percent on 3.1 attempts per game.
Three of his six buckets against the Nets followed a similar pattern. Portis quickly backs down a Nets player (on two occasions it was the shot blocker Jarrett Allen), creates space for himself, and rises up for a mini-hook shot deep in the paint.
Even at 6’11”, given that the dude has credit card hops it’s sort of amazing how he’s hitting these shots over these defenders. But, he’s crafty and has an ability to create space for himself inside and I think that assists him in making these types of shots.
The little floater/hook could become an even bigger part of his game given the way the Chicago Bulls offense has changed since head coach Jim Boylen took over.
“Just try to slow the game down. Walk it up like Coach always wants us to do. Pound the ball inside. Play inside out and try to get to the rim as much as possible and get back on defense,”
Jabari Parker Exile Resumes
On Friday against the Indiana Pacers, Boylen blessed Parker with 14 minutes of playing time. But with Portis back in the lineup on Sunday, Parker didn’t see the court.
Parker is the third-best power forward on the roster so yes naturally his playing opportunities were going to be reduced once Portis returned to the lineup.
But again for the people in back, the Chicago Bulls are dead last in the NBA in offensive rating since Boylen took over as coach on Dec. 4. Parker can score the ball, so find creative ways to get him into the lineup even if it means playing him outside of his natural position.
The Bulls season isn’t going anywhere and Parker won’t be in a Bulls uniform after this season anyway. Chicago literally has nothing to lose by playing Parker.