“With the 22nd pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls select power forward Bobby Portis of Arkansas,” said commissioner Adam Silver. Relief came over the face of the 6’11 and 245 pound former Razorback as his name was finally called in Brooklyn Thursday evening.
It was a long wait for the 2015 SEC Player of the Year as he watched guard after guard go ahead of him. Portis was projected as high as 12th to the Utah Jazz, which would have placed him as a lottery pick. However, falling to 22nd in the draft could prove to be valuable for the Little Rock native.
Jun 25, 2015; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Bobby Portis (Arkansas) greets NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number twenty-two overall pick to the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Although I don’t see Portis having any shot at starting in Chicago, I do see significant playing time in his future. With an aging Pau Gasol and the defensive minded Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson, the Bulls needed an offensive threat at power forward. Chicago could have landed their biggest need in this year’s draft and potentially one of the biggest sleepers.
Unfortunately, I hate to say “I told you so,” but Portis was not the top ten lottery pick that many Arkansas fans believed. There’s no question Portis will go down as one of the greatest Arkansas basketball players ever, but he also lacks a few skills the NBA looks for. Although I see Portis being very successful in the NBA, due to his work ethic, I also believe he landed exactly where the experts expected. The contract will take a huge hit, but the progression and skills will likely improve under first year head coach Fred “The Mayor” Hoiberg.
Portis showed incredible mid-range ability and occasionally a 3-point threat. He has great touch around the rim and most importantly brings hustle and aggressiveness to both ends of the floor. He’s shown to be a great competitor and rebounds the ball very well on the offensive end.
He’s not overly quick and will struggle on the defensive end in the NBA. Although he rebounds the ball well, he’ll need to strengthen his body to play the four spot. He has proven offensive skills, but still needs to work on his low post presence to be successful in the NBA.