“Oh, You Ain’t Know?”

Bobby Portis TIme
B. Portis Time has begun. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune)


Chicago’s Bobby Portis is trending upwards heading into the New Year. After receiving minimal playing time prior to Joakim Noah‘s shoulder injury last week, Portis is beginning to justify why many Bulls fans campaigned for the rook to see extended action.

The moment Portis checks into the game, Chicago’s energy level just seems different – an aura of youthful exuberance mixed with the eagerness to contribute. It’s slightly reminiscent of the intensity (rookie) Noah brought to the table as an understudy to Ben Wallace – keeping balls alive/knocking them off opponents, tip-ins, and harassing defense were all second nature.

Now, Portis and (early) Noah mirror each other from an effort standpoint but offensively, he’s a much more capable option to score the rock. In fact, Bobby’s arsenal is pretty unique in comparison to Chicago’s other, rotational bigs.

Here’s what each of them bring to the table:

Joakim Noah: defensive energy (switching out on screens), pushing the break, activity on the glass, great passing (finds cutters, shooters) and screen setting

Nikola Mirotic: long-distance shooting, (seldom) scoring off the dribble, foul-drawing ability

Pau Gasol: offense with his back to the basket, pop-out Js, excellent passing (out of the high & low post), length to board and block shots

Taj Gibson: “hard hat, lunch pail approach,” active rebounding, midrange J, strong defense (PnR switching, help side shot-blocking)

Portis, while definitely an unfinished product, is highly adaptable, making him all the more valuable. A few of his traits include righty hooks on the left block, running the floor, fake handoffs followed by a midrange J, pick and pop jumpers, and offensive put backs.

Aside from his talent, however, Portis is MEAN (nicknamed “Crazy Eyes” for a reason!) on the floor – a ravaging rottweiler whose bark is backed up by it’s vicious bite. Ok, that’s a slight exaggeration but BP is the rare Bull who will flex after an “and-1” and show emotion after a big shot.

His infectious energy serves as a trickle-down effect, an encouraging sign for a rook trying to earn his spot on a veteran squad. In last night’s contest v. Indiana, Portis’s chamber was fully loaded…and produced winning plays that jumpstarted a couple of zombie-like stretches for Chicago.

In recent interview with BullsTV, Taj Gibson praised Portis’s work ethic and attention to detail. When matched up with Toronto’s Patrick Patterson on Monday, Portis heeded Taj’s words and went right at him in the post. The end result? 12 points, 9 boards and a W.

Yesterday, the scouting report against rusty Myles Turner (returned after missing 17 games) and a slower Lavoy Allen was to remain patient and pick spots. Portis complied and produced 16 points and 9 rebounds. It’s early, but you can tell Portis just gets it.

How a guy like that fell to #22 is a mystery not even Jake Peralta can solve.

A young, disciplined forward built for the new, modern age of basketball (versatile, can perform in any lineup), Bobby Portis could go from UnderDOG to Top DOG in the blink of an eye.


-Jabari J.

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