Bobby Portis broke through the freshman wall — and he broke through it hard. After spending two years at Arkansas, Portis was somewhat unknown on draft night falling to the Bulls at the 22nd pick. He received some good minutes, averaging 17.8 per game and 7.0 points per game. Not great — but not that bad for a rookie since he was playing behind Taj and Nikola (another rookie that was fighting for minutes).
The Bulls missed the playoffs for the first time in 7 years after recently splitting ways with Tom Thibodeau in 2015. The organization has been struggling with their identity ever since they hired Fred Hoiberg to lead them to a 42–40 record last year. But don’t let that fool you, the Bulls are headed in the right direction.
Let’s recap the Bull’s free agency action this year so far.
- Traded Derrick Rose for Lopez and backup point guards
- Drafted Denzel Valentine to add depth to a point forward role
- Signed Rajon Rondo to assume the starting point guard position
- Signed Dywane Wade to assume a starting position (but where?)
This would leave a starting five of Rondo, Wade, Butler, question mark, and Lopez. That question mark would be answered in Summer League. Well sort of…
The fifth and six spot would come down to a couple of guys; Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic, Denzel Valentine and (the reason for this story) Bobby Portis.
For those that have read my other stuff, you’ll know that I would resort to stats to answer this question. So I will.
Just for fun, I accumulated all of the player stats for the Summer League (across all three cities). What? There are three cities? Yes, before looking I thought that every team went to the Las Vegas Summer League. That’s not the case. They also have teams go to Orlando and Utah. Gotta love how NBA.com splits the stats by Orlando, Utah and Las Vegas… Where in Utah? I’m guessing Salt Lake, but why not say Salt Lake. You’ll see my frustration if you look at the stats on NBA.com (sorry, I’m observant).
The stats are pretty straight forward; like games played, minutes per game, points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. I wanted to see who had the most impressive stats for the longest period of time. Essentially, who was the best for the most games. I filtered out players that played fewer than 3 games and here were my results.
Bobby Portis ranked #10 overall in Points Per Game (J-McRae was #1), #4 in Rebounds Per Game, #55 in Steals Per Game, #65 in Blocks Per Game, and played over 30 minutes over 7 games in Summer League. With those rankings, he ranked among the top 10% of the league across every category and all 310 players — behind some already solid players; D’Angelo Russel, Ben Simmons, Kyle Anderson. Other notables in that list would be Minnesota’s Kris Dunn, Cleveland’s Jordan McRae, Minnesota’s Tyus Jones and Toronto’s Norman Powell.
If you’re Fred Hoiberg, not knowing what PF you are going to start in the 2016–17 season might be a bit nerve-racking, but Portis gave a great reason to settle him down a bit.