Bulls Season Rewind 17-18: Bobby Portis
Taking a closer look at Portis' third Bulls season
Bobby Portis Season Averages:
Third-year forward Bobby Portis had a rough start to the season to say the least. After a strong training camp and preseason, Portis got into an altercation with teammate Nikola Mirotic at practice, resulting in injuries sidelining Mirotic for an extended period of time and the team imposing an 8-game suspension on Portis.
That said, once Portis returned, he never looked back. Portis rebounded from the early season incident to be one of the brightest spots of the Bulls season, showing significant improvement in his all-around game and cementing himself as a fan favorite with his high motor, passion for the game and overall skillset. He only missed a single game following his suspension, and whether it was December and the team was winning or April and the team was faltering down the stretch having already been eliminated, he gave his maximum effort on every possession he played.
Portis was consistent in a season of inconsistencies for the Bulls, improving every facet of his game. He showed a better feel in terms of finding shots for himself and his teammates, became a vocal leader on the floor and truly put in the work to get better and be a team player. Bobby averaged over 13 points in just 22 minutes a game off the bench, solidifying the power forward position as perhaps the strongest and deepest on the team. Bulls fans have to be happy with the consistent improvement they’ve seen with Bobby, and he appears to be a piece of the future with the team.
Let’s take a look at some of Bobby’s most notable moments from this season:
February 22, VS Philadelphia 76ers (76ers 116, Bulls 115)
This was without question Portis’ star turn of the season, a game in which he proved to be absolutely dominant even while matched up with the Sixers’ star frontcourt of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Portis was a beast off the bench absolutely manufacturing buckets, dropping a career-high 38 points, hitting six three pointers and hyping the crowd throughout the game. Behind Portis, the Bulls led for much of this game and were en route to taking home the win before a very late rally by the Sixers caused the team to lose, but in a game with a ton of star power (Simmons and Embiid scored 32 and 30, respectively), it was Bobby who shone brightest.
Portis stat line: 38 points (15-26 FG), 6-9 3PT, 8 rebounds, 2 assists
December 15, AT Milwaukee Bucks (Bulls 115, Bucks 109)
With suspensions, injuries and new players being integrated, the Bulls had an NBA-worst start to the season at 3-20. All of a sudden, in December, it all clicked. The Bulls ripped off a big win streak of seven straight games, which included wins over playoff teams Boston, Utah, Philadelphia and this win on the road over Milwaukee. This game came smack in the middle of this win streak, and really showed this improved Bulls stretch was for real.
The Bulls won this game off the backs of Portis and Mirotic, the two players involved in the preseason altercation, as the Bucks had trouble stopping both guys from getting buckets. Portis, whose minutes went up due to rookie Lauri Markkanen sitting this one out, had an All-Star stat line, leading the team in both scoring and rebounding with 27 points and 12 boards as the Bulls broke open a tight game to take a big win over their neighbor rivals.
Portis stat line: 27 points (9-16 FG), 12 rebounds, 1 steal
January 24, AT Philadelphia 76ers (76ers 115, Bulls 101)
What was it about the Sixers this season that got Bobby playing his best? Playing without Kris Dunn, the Bulls found themselves on the losing side of a hyped Philadelphia team, but Bobby stepped it up and was perhaps the best player on the floor for the Bulls on this night. He led the team in scoring with 22 points, showing a soft touch on his jump shot, and also led the team in rebounding with 11. On a night the Bulls couldn’t get much going, Portis was the bright spot.
Portis stat line: 22 points (8-12 FG), 11 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists