Tag: Bobby Portis

Markkanen Out 6-8 Weeks, Now What?

Lauri Markkanen suffered an unfortunate injury during practice that will keep him out 6-8 weeks. To give the injury some perspective, here is a tweet from Jeff Stotts.

Tweet

The 6 week mark will be 11/9/18 and the 8 week mark will be 11/23/18. Assuming he will miss the same amount time as Batum, Lauri will miss all of preseason, and about 12-15 games in the regular season. This is a big blow for the Bulls, as Markkanen is one of the cornerstone pieces of this current rebuild. Hoiberg’s rotation will now need to change, and luckily for him he has options.

Markkanen was expected to start at PF, but the Bulls will now have to replace him. The Bulls have Bobby Portis who can play the position, and has started there in the past. But Portis played well in his 6th man role, and even mentioned he likes the role. “I like the role, I get to come off the bench and score a lot. Who doesn’t like that role?” Portis said that before the season on his upcoming 6th man role. Portis fits nicely in that role, as he brings scoring to the 2nd unit. And if anything else, tons of energy. I feel the 6th man role is perfect for Portis at this point. But what other options do the Bulls have?

The Bulls signed forward Jabari Parker this off-season. While the plans were to start Parker at the SF position, the 4 year forward has played most of his career at the 4. And for what it’s worth, has had most of his success. The idea of moving Parker down to the 4 seems to make the most sense, as you know he would be comfortable there and is best there. And we already know Portis is comfortable off the bench. The only problem that would create is who starts at the SF position?

The Bulls have 3 options; Justin Holiday, Chandler Hutchison, and Denzel Valentine. Valentine suffered a mild ankle sprain in practice the other day, and he will be out 1-2 weeks. He should be ready for the regular season, but will miss some of the preseason. Holiday and Hutchison will get the 1st opportunity to start and impress in preseason. Hutchison is a rookie, so I would expect to see Holiday starting at the 3 Sunday in the Bulls 1st preseason game. But what do each of the 3 bring to the starting unit?

Justin Holiday: Holiday started 72 games for the Bulls last season, but in a slightly different role. The Bulls started last season short handed, and Holiday was asked to do more than he is capable of. Through the first 23 games last season, Holiday averaged 14 points a game. But was really inefficient as he shot 37% from the field, 35% from 3, a true shooting % of 49.6% and an usage of 20.7%. But the next 25 games the Bulls were healthier but more importantly had more talent around Holiday. With lesser of a role and attention on him, Holiday’s numbers improved. He averaged 12.7 ppg, less than before, but he was more efficient. He shot 40% from the field,  42% from 3, a true shooting % of 57.0 with a usage of 16.0%. It is clear with talent surrounding Holiday, he can do what he is most comfortable doing. Which is catch and shoot, rather forcing up shots with the shot clock running down. Less usage for Holiday is good, and that is what he would have in the starting lineup.

Denzel Valentine: Denzel started 37 games for the Bulls last season, and was better as a starter than a bench player.

Valentine

What is not listed there is the usage. Valentine as a starter had a usage of 16.4%, and with the bench had a usage of 18.5% off the bench. And a true shooting % of 55.3% starting vs 50.1% off the bench. Clearly with talent around him, Valentine can give average efficiency and shoot above average from 3. Valentine also provides good rebounding, gathering 17% of his team’s defensive rebounds, which is top in the league at his position. He also was responsible for 18% of his team’s assist when out there, which for his position was also top in the NBA.

Chandler Hutchison: Hutchison is a rookie, so we don’t have much to judge him on. Summer league showed us a little bit. He was 2nd on the team in assist, he showed an ability to handle the ball and find the open/cutting man. He made 8 of 16 threes, but struggled from everywhere else shooting 33% when he wasn’t shooting a 3. Hutchison was labeled a wing player with good defensive potential, and he showed potential this summer league. That is Hutchison’s biggest argument to start, as he can be a better defender than both Holiday and Valentine. And with Lavine and Parker, having a good wing defender is necessary.

I ideally want to start Hutchison because of his defensive potential, which I see being a big need from that 3 position. But I want him to earn it, I want to see him play well in preseason before giving it to him. We don’t know how good he will be right away, throwing him out and just hoping he can be good could hurt his development. To me until he proves it, this is between Holiday and Valentine. And at this point I would start Holiday at the 3 and move Parker to the 4 following this Markkanen injury. Neither are an ideal 3, I prefer to have Valentine’s play making on the 2nd unit where it is more needed. Let Holiday start, and expect more efficiency from him with Lavine, Parker, and hopefully a better offensive player in Kris Dunn.

Should the Bulls Extend Bobby Portis’ Contract Now or Later?

12:00am July 6th, 2018. That is the exact moment Chicago Bulls forward Bobby Portis is eligible to sign an extension. As a player entering his 4th season on his rookie scale contract, Portis has up until October 31st, 2018 to agree to an extension. If one is not reached by then, then Portis will be eligible for restricted free agency for the 2019 off-season. Portis showed his offensive potential in his 3rd season, showing he can be a productive player for the Bulls moving forward. Extending Portis makes sense, but when is the right time?

Just based off reports, the Bulls are waiting for the 2019 off-season to spend big money on free agents. Here is a quote from Mark Scharnowski, Bulls reporter/host:

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Whether or not that is true, what is true is the cap flexibility is there for the Bulls to have max space in the 2019 off-season. And what could be more true is the Bulls could be more appealing to free agents by that time as well. But let’s get back to Bobby Portis. A Bobby Portis extension now will eat into Bulls cap space for 2019, the question then becomes how much space do the Bulls need? If offering a player like Thompson or Irving a max contract is their goal, going off the 2019 cap space projection of 108,000,000, the space needed to offer them the max is 32,400,000(30% of the salary cap). So how much space are the Bulls projecting to have in 2019?

There are a lot of factors that go into that projection. Factors such as the Lavine/Nwaba extension, the Bulls 2018 6th and 22nd pick salary projections, and their 2019 draft pick salary projection. And most importantly the final salary cap number for the 2019-20 season. Let’s assume it will be close to and use that salary cap projection. Let’s also assume the Bulls extend Lavine and his 2019-20 salary cap hit is 16,000,000, and they also extend Nwaba with a 2019-20 cap hit of 5,000,000. Also let’s assume they stay at 6th and 22nd spots for the 2018 draft which would be a 2019-20 cap hit of 4,707,600 and 1,927,100. And let’s go ahead and say the Bulls will just miss the playoffs next season and end up with the 14th pick. (Just to be clear not my prediction, but I assume they won’t be too far from that 14th spot.) The 14th pick for 2019-20 would have a cap hit of 2,851,900. And until the Bulls make additional moves I assume; Felicio, Dunn, Markkanen, and Valentine will still be on the roster with their salary cap hits along with Portis’ cap hold. That would give the Bulls a team salary of 64,814,736, which projects the Bulls to have 43,185,265 in cap space.

Again, that is just a projection. It is not accurate as I mention because of all the factors that will determine that number. But it is clear the cap flexibility is there to have max space for those players, more than enough. And according to our projections, they could have about 10 million in space left over. Which is somewhat important because it is over the MLE projection amount for 19-20, which is 9,161,000. Which means the ability to offer a max and still outbid teams who could only offer the MLE  is possibly there for other free agents. But let’s get back to Portis’ extension.

Does it make sense for the Bulls to extend Portis this off-season? The Bulls have recently let most of their upcoming restricted free agents hit the open market; Jimmy Butler, Miroitc, and Lavine recent examples. And personally that is what I believe what will end up happening and I would tend to agree with that. I get the risk, but most teams aren’t projected to have space in 2019. I like the Bulls chances at retaining Portis at a reasonable contract in 2019 while maximizing the space they can have that off-season. That to me makes the most sense for the Bulls if they are valuing cap space in 2019. Gives you the most flexibility while still allowing yourself to likely retain Portis.

How Good Can Bobby Portis Become Offensively?

The 3rd year player Bobby Portis has had a solid 2017-18 season. He is finally getting over 20 minutes per game, and is showing he can be a productive offensive player. Let’s look at Portis’ career numbers.

Portis Numbers

You can see with minutes, Portis is showing his offensive potential. For a big he is a decent shooter, he gets offensive rebounds, and can get 15-20 points in starter minutes. Here’s a quick look at Portis’ per 36 minutes numbers.

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The per 36 stats just gives you an idea with more minutes, what Bobby can do. No it doesn’t necessarily mean he will put up these exact numbers. I do think however it’s fair to say with about 25 minutes plus a game, Portis is good for 15 points or more on average. Portis has shown he can be a solid offensive player, but the question really is how good can Portis become? Could he become a reliable starter? Or could he even become an All-Star? A more in-depth look at how he gets his points will help us figure out his potential.

Looking into Portis’ numbers, it’s clear he likes to shoot the ball away from the rim more than the average big.

Portis shooting freqency.png

The chart you see is from Cleaning The Glass. It is a site run by Ben Falk, previous Vice President of Basketball Strategy for the Philadelphia 76ers, and former basketball analytics manager of the Portland Trail Blazers. The stats from this chart exclude “garbage time stats”. You can see here what garbage time is defined as,  garbage time. Portis shoots 38% of his shots at the rim, which is below average compared to his position. You see he shoots 26% of his shots from 3 which is above average and 36% from mid-range which is above average at his position. Portis unlike most bigs, relies on outside shooting just as much as at the rim shooting. Let’s take a quick look at how he shoots from each of these areas.

Portis accuracy.png

You can see why Portis likes to shoot as many jump shoots as he does. At the rim Portis shoots 57% which is in the bottom % compared to his position. Portis is a good mid-range shooter though as you see he is in the top % compared to his position from there. From 3 he is slightly below average. We will dive deeper into whether or not Portis can improve at the rim, but looking at these stats his game reminds me of someone similar. Someone who is a former 4 time All-Star. That player is Paul Millsap.

I’m talking about the Paul Millsap from 2013-14 to now. The Paul Millsap who became a better shooter once he signed with Atlanta. Let’s take a quick look at how Millsap likes to score. Here is where he likes to shoot from since 2013.

Millsap 2.png

You can see the numbers are very similar to Portis. Millsap takes more shots from mid range, than he does at the rim. For a big, Millsap shoots a lot of jump shots. Let’s take a look at how he shoots from these areas.

Millsap 3

The numbers are very similar between Portis and Millsap. They both shoot about the same from 3. They both like to rely on jump shots really when you break it down. For 4 seasons in Atlanta, Paul Millsap was an All-Star. Let’s take a quick look at those numbers.

Millsap ATL

These are Millsap’s numbers all four All-Star seasons. When you compare these numbers to Portis’ per 36 numbers, they really start to look similar.

Portis per 36

The question becomes can Portis be as good as Millsap? What are the differences between their games? One thing difference you notice is Millsap gets to the line more than Portis. Let’s take a look at their drawing shooting foul numbers.

Portis foul.png

Millsap foul.png

Looking at the SFLD%(shows the % of the shots player is fouled on), clearly Millsap gets to the line more than Portis. One of the reason for this is likely speed. Millsap blows by his man more, which causes defenders to foul him more than they would with Portis. Defenders are caught out of position more guarding Millsap. This is important because neither are great shooters. Not just relying on shooing and being able to get to the line produces more consistent numbers, which has helped Millsap put up All-Star numbers.

But one advantage Bobby Portis has over Millsap is offensive rebounding. Portis offensive rebounds 10% of his team’s misses, which is way above average for his position. Being able to rebound and get easy baskets should help Portis, but he needs to get better around the rim. You saw as we talked earlier, Portis doesn’t finish well around the rim. But why is that? It seems to me it is mainly a lack of explosion. He is athletic but just not explosive. He also struggles to finish over players with similar or longer height. Here are a few examples of this:

I don’t expect Portis to ever become great under the rim, or even good. But he needs to get closer to average for his position. Getting stronger, working on jumping, and getting better footwork will help Portis. I also think getting more comfortable with his left will help a lot. Portis at times forces shots with his right, when the shot would be easier with his left. Working on these little things can get Portis 2-6 extra points a game.

I think the potential for Portis to become good offensively is there. The things I would like to see Portis improve is his shooting, footwork down low, his left hand, his strength, jumping, and offensive awareness.

I think Portis can become a better shooter than Millsap. He is a better free throw shooter, and I do believe Portis has a nice shot. I think the more he works on his shot, he can become closer to a 38%-40% shooter from distance. Footwork down low can improve which ties in with his left. Portis most of time is looking to finish right. All his set up moves in the post are to set him up going right. Defenders know this and will play him that way, getting them to respect his left will only help his game. Getting stronger comes with age, and the stronger Portis becomes the more separation he will be able to get for his shot down low. And just offensive awareness but more so his shot IQ. This has improved but still needs work. Portis at times settles for bad shots. Contested 3’s or just quick 3’s in general. Usually experience will fix this, Portis just needs to learn what a good shot is and when it’s better to just pass the ball.

If I had to guess I don’t think Portis will ever become an All-Star but I do think he will become a good offensive player teams can rely on. Portis has at least shown the offensive talent that can keep him around the NBA for another 5-6 seasons. Maybe more with hard work.  The Bulls for now should realize they have an offensive talent in Portis, that could help their bench for a long time moving forward.

 

 

Chicago Bulls Game #58 Review

The Chicago Bulls lose their 38th game of the season Thursday night, 116-115 at home to the Philadelphia 76ers. Tonight marked the beginning of the Bulls youth movement, as the Bulls will use the last few months to evaluate some of their younger talent. The Bulls started Felicio and Nwaba next to Dunn, Lavaine, and Markannen. Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday were removed from the starting lineup and were made inactive for the game. The Bulls used Payne, Valentine, Zipser, Portis, Vonleh off the bench and committed to the youth movement they promised moving forward.

1st Quarter

PHI: 33 CHI: 29

The first six and half minutes of this game was a disaster for the Bulls. Embiid and Simmons scored Philadelphia’s first 10 points on a 10-2 Philadelphia run, which pretty much foreshadowed the rest of the night. The Bulls looked sluggish to start with two turnovers in the first two minutes of the game. Philadelphia was getting most of their points from 3, hitting 5 threes in a row to start the game. This helped Philadelphia lead the game 25-7 with 6:45 remaining in the first. Portis and Nwaba got the Bulls run going, scoring the next 12 points for the Bulls. The 76ers hot shooting cooled down, finishing the quarter 1-6 after going 5-5 to start the game from 3. Portis, Nwaba, and Valentine help the Bulls finish the quarter strong, scoring 20 points combined to finish the quarter.

2nd Quarter

PHI: 34 (67) CHI: 40 (69)

The Bulls survived off 3s in this quarter. The Bulls went 9-12 from 3, scoring 27 of their 40 points from deep. Philadelphia had a lot of trouble guarding Portis, Portis scored 14 points while hitting four 3s in the quarter. Zach Lavine took advantage of the three-point line as well, hitting 3 of 4 threes in this quarter. The quarter was pretty much back n forth at a high scoring rate. The most anyone lead in the quarter was Philadelphia, which lead by 8 at one point.

 

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3rd Quarter

PHI: 26 (93) CHI: 22 (91)

The Bulls struggled shooting the ball in this one. Bulls went 8 from 23 from the field, however did make 4 of 9 threes. The Bulls started the quarter like the 1st quarter. Turnovers, no pace no rhythm. Ben Simmons got Philadelphia going in this quarter. He scored or assisted Philadelphia’s first 6 made field goals. Simmons and Embiid scored 18 of the 76ers 26 points, Bulls had trouble guarding both these guys. Despite shooting poor and having trouble with Embiid/Simmons, the Bulls kept the game close. Defensively played well on other Philadelphia players. Nwaba, Lavine, and Portis helped keep the game close with their offense in this quarter scoring 17 of the 22 points.

4th Quarter

PHI: 23 (116) CHI: 24 (115)

The Bulls defense was active to start the 4th quarter. The quarter was pretty much back n forth until the Bulls were able to build a 5-point lead with 4 minutes left. The Bulls were able to maintain a 5 point lead up until the 1-minute mark, leading 115-110. The Bulls lost the lead though, going 0-5 the last minute with one critical turnover by Valentine that cost the Bulls the game. The Bulls also took a questionable foul up 3, putting Reddick to the line. Which then Valentine turned the ball over very next play, causing a foul on Ben Simmons. Simmons hit 2 free throws to win the game. Portis scored 12 of the Bulls 24 in this quarter, while Ben Simmons scored 9 of Philadelphia’s 23.

Take from game:

The Bulls played well, especially for being down 25-7 at one point. They continued to fight their way back in and almost won the game. And might have won if it wasn’t for a bad pass by Denzel Valentine. Nice effort against a playoff contending team in Philadelphia. David Nwaba looked great going 3-3 from 3. He finished with 21 points with 9 rebounds in 32 minutes. He was active defensively but fouled out late in the game. Bobby Portis had the best game of his career. He shot 6 for 9 from 3 which isn’t sustainable but didn’t rely on 3s for his 38 points. He made himself a tough match up for Philadelphia inside and out. Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen struggled. Combined they shot 3-19, missed all their 3s, and only scored 8 points combined. Dunn also struggled guarding Simmons because of the height. Cameron Payne looked ok in his first game. Questionable shot selection but played with pace and finished with 7 assists. Felicio was in foul trouble all game and played just under 12 minutes.

 

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Bulls could not guard Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid. Not a lot of players can, but the Bulls didn’t have a player with height and speed to bother and keep up with Simmons. Simmons got where he wanted and had his way with the Bulls defense. Embiid as well was a tough cover for the Bulls. Portis, Felicio and Vonleh struggled matching up with Embiid all night. Both combined for 60 points.