There wasn’t a mock draft in the industry that had Bobby Portis falling to the Chicago Bulls at pick #22, which by definition means the SEC Player of the Year was a steal that late in the first-round.
On the other hand, the Bulls don’t really need him, at least not as currently constructed.
Chicago still desperately needs a long-term solution at backup point guard behind the oft-injured Derrick Rose, as well as someone to help keep Jimmy Butler from having to play 42 minutes a game. But Portis is one of those value picks that are hard to pass up, and since Chicago already was very likely considering shaking up the frontcourt this offseason anyway, it’s far from the most insane pick of the draft. No more confounding than, say, Philadelphia taking Jahlil Okafor when they already had Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid on the roster.
The first thought is that this opens the door for them to explore trades for Taj Gibson, a somewhat similar player on a friendly contract that should garner plenty of interest league-wide. He’s getting a bit older but still is in his prime, and considering Jimmy Butler’s impending max-extension, Gibson may have been a casualty anyway.
Somebody is going to have to go, at any rate, because there simply aren’t enough minutes for Portis, Gibson, Nikola Mirotic, Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah all to be effective. But once again, this was a value pick, not a pick for need.
Portis, at 6’11 with a 7’4 wingspan, has been compared to Kevin Garnett in large part because he’s the same kind of super-serious, super-competitive player that teeters on the edge of being just a little bit crazy in the best way possible. He’s going to defend at a very high level and is an efficient scorer, having shot 54 percent on two-point field goals at Arkansas last year. He can even knock down a three-pointer once in a while, giving new Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg an interesting new toy to play with this upcoming season.
The only question now is what Chicago may do to clear out their roster to make room for all these big guys.
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