Bulls Lead

Porter Jr.’s Arrival Brings Stability to Bulls Core

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When the Bulls pulled the trigger on trading for Otto Porter, it essentially removed them from 2019 free agency.  If you manage to overlook the massive contract, Porter is a solid addition to the core of the team next to Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, and Wendell Carter Jr.. His efficient shooting, off-ball movement, and defensive ability is something the Bulls have lacked consistently at the small forward position since the departure of Jimmy Butler.

Looking through the other lens for a moment, losing Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker affect the Bulls for different reasons.  Both players were close with the team but had problems with other personnel.  With Jabari gone, the drama here is finally over.  The two parties have been on completely different pages since his comments on defense last summer.

The small forward experiment didn’t work, and Jim Boylen taking over and taking him completely out of the rotation ensured that his time back home in Chicago would be memorable for all the wrong reasons.  While he did what Jabari does, — putting the ball in the basket — the friction between him, the coaching staff, and the front office was too much to last through the end of the season.

Parker Ready to Depart, Portis Not So Much

Parker was probably more prepared to leave than Portis ever was.  Portis, the former emotional leader of the Bulls, has been trolling twitter with comments directed toward the Bulls organization.  He and the Bulls were somewhat apart in extension talks last summer.  Despite being injured for a good portion of the season, Bobby had been playing well of late.

https://twitter.com/BPortistime/status/1094073679254831105

Bobby doesn’t see himself as a ‘back-up’ big man, and his 33-point game prior to the trade showed that.  Bobby has put up several big games for the Bulls ever since being a big part of the 2017 playoff team.  He may not have been a part of much winning while he was here, but Portis made an impact on the city and organization with his passion and energy.

Development Continues, But at a Much Smoother Pace

Otto Porter being in Chicago aids positively in the development of the three other core pieces.  At age 25 and having six years with a moderately successful Wizards franchise, Porter brings some experience to this roster.  Having played with ball dominant guards in John Wall and Bradley Beal for so long, it’s nice to know that he can play with other scorers.

For example, his presence opens the floor for Markkanen and LaVine to do more of their damage.  Markkanen, the Bulls’ lone All-Star weekend representative, has been on a tear of late. Since January 27th, he’s been averaging 23.4 points and 13.5 rebounds per game.  Zach’s scoring has also continued to be stellar, averaging 26.8 since the new year.  Porter should also have a hand in mentoring the currently injured Chandler Hutchison.

With less than 30 games to go in the season, the Bulls are again looking at players who could be part of the future for this team. Wayne Selden has been a very solid addition since his arrival from Memphis.  Timothe Luwawu-Cabbarot is another name in the rotation.  Robin Lopez is a buyout candidate who deserves to play with a contender.  Kris Dunn, according to VP John Paxson, is still being looked at, with people assuming that, if they go Zion-less, the Bulls’ attention will be on Murray St. PG Ja Morant.  The only names that are locked in for this team going forward are Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., and now, Otto Porter Jr.

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