Otto Porter Jr. is familiar with zeros, but mostly in his name.
“Hard working player, wants to win,” Porter told media when asked about himself before the Bulls Saturday night played his former team, the Washington Wizards, and former Bulls Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker. “That’s the first thing at the top of the list; I want to be a winner. I will do anything to be a winner."
“I feel like whatever I needed to do to help the team win, I did,” Porter added when asked about whether he was unappreciated as a Wizards third option. “I feel like I could do a lot more.”
Porter should get the opportunity with the Bulls, and Friday he got off to a good start with 18 points and four of five three pointers in the win in Brooklyn. Porter has been one of the league’s best three-point shooters, though his percentages were lower this season amidst experimentation in Washington that had him starting and coming off the bench. Plus, there were changes with point guard John Wall injured.
Some believed Porter, who isn’t particularly animated, accepted a lesser role because of the ball dominant Wall and the team trying to enhance the play of Bradley Beal. Thus Porter got a reputation as a reluctant shooter who often passed up even good shots.
“He’s (Bulls coach Jim Boylen) definitely going to have to tell him he needs more shots out of him,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said before the game. “Otto is very comfortable. And that’s what you have to get out of him. You need more shots. He’s a great shooter. And you want your best shooters shooting a lot. It is a balance. I’ve always said when you have a great shot, don’t pass it to a guy who doesn’t shoot as well as you. He’s going to make a lot of threes here.”
Porter was asked about that characterization. He disputed it.
“No,” said the laconic forward. “I feel (I am) a total basketball player; I do many things well. For me just being able to play to my potential.”
Porter seemed upbeat and comfortable with the trade compared with Portis and Parker, who appeared somewhat more adversarial. That serenity seems to be Porter’s off court personality. Though he said he was looking forward to a game garnished with considerable trash talking.
“It’s going to be a fun game,” Porter said. “Get to play against the guys I’ve been with for a long time; it’s going to be fun time. I was telling coach (Boylen) everything to know about Washington; everything. I was snitching, yeah.”
Porter said he welcomes coming to the Bulls as a longtime fan growing up in southwest Missouri.
“It was kind of weird, growing up watching Michael Jordan play and being a fan of Chicago Bulls itself; it’s was kind of weird. Still hasn’t hit me yet,” Porter said. “I was expecting to stay in Washington, yes.
“That first game (with the Bulls), I feel like we meshed really good,” Porter said. “Been talking to the guys non stop, trying to get a feel for them. Amazing guys, great character guys and just trying to get the ball rolling now. I really didn’t watch the Bulls that much (this season). I was focused on the Wizards. But viewing the games they won, seeing the talent and the direction they are going, it’s very positive.”