Bulls Season Highlights: Otto Porter Jr.
*65 game season
There’s no question about Otto Porter Jr.’s skill or talent. The highlight of OPJ’s time in Chicago so far happened just a few games into his Bulls career when he scored a career-high 37 points on 16-for-20 shooting in a win over the Memphis Grizzlies at the United Center last year. Unfortunately for the Bulls, the injury bug hit the team hard this season and Porter Jr. was among the first to miss time with a left foot injury. When he returned in March, he was being eased back with the team and came off the bench for five games. In his final two games of the season, he scored a combined 38 points on 54% shooting along with six total steals just before the NBA season was suspended.
A healthy Otto Porter Jr. makes the Bulls better in many ways. After all, he’s one of the better starting small forwards in the NBA as a whole. He offers two-way ability, shooting, playmaking, and perimeter defending. He’s versatile on the offensive end who is capable of creating his own shot and also shoots well from distance (he’s a career 40% three-point shooter). An underrated trait is the veteran leadership he brings both in the game and on the practice court, especially important on a young team like the Bulls. Leaders often lead by example and it’s tough to accomplish that when your foot is in a medical boot. With 31 playoff games under his belt during his time with the Washington Wizards, OPJ surely offers insight that could help develop the other young guys on the team.
If Porter Jr. picks up his player-option and returns next season fully healthy, he provides much-needed stability to the starting small forward position. Because of injuries to him and Chandler Hutchison, the Bulls had to use numerous three-guard lineups during the season. It feels like OPJ is flying under the radar as he’s only played in 29 games for the Bulls. With the extended time to fully heal that left foot, he should be a prime candidate to return to his best form going next season.
Otto explains how he fell in love with the game of basketball in his BMO Harris Bank Moment.
Let’s take a look at two of OPJ's better performances this season:
NOVEMBER 1, 2019 VS DETROIT (BULLS 112, PISTONS 106)
Porter Jr. Stat Line: 22 points (8-12 FG, 3-4 3PT), 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal
Chicago’s first win at the United Center this season was propelled by a big fourth quarter from Zach LaVine (10 points in the final 3:32, 26 points for the game) as well as an all-around performance from Porter Jr. Shooting 8-for-12 from the floor and nailing three triples all from the right wing, Otto was consistent throughout the game offensively. He was also able to set up his teammates for some easy buckets both in transition and in the half-court. Porter’s combination of scoring and playmaking from the SF position were missed in his absence. Bulls fans should look forward to watching a healthy OPJ bring these types of games back in the lineup next season.
MARCH 8, 2020 AT BROOKLYN (NETS 110, BULLS 107)
Porter Jr. Stat Line: 23 points (9-17 FG), 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals
Playing in his fourth game since his return from a foot injury, Porter Jr. stepped up on the road when his scoring was needed. In 25 mins off the bench, Porter Jr. dropped 23 points and collected 4 steals as the team continued to play without Zach LaVine who was sidelined with a quad injury. With the Bulls down 13 with just over three minutes remaining, OPJ helped make things interesting knocking down three 3’s in that stretch. With 3.6 seconds remaining, Otto took the inbound from Lauri Markkanen, took one dribble, jumped off one leg fading to his right, and kissed the three-ball off the backboard to close the gap to one with 0.4 left. The Nets would hang on for the victory.