While names like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday ring throughout everyday conversation about the Milwaukee Bucks, Bobby Portis is having a career year in multiple facets.
The power forward turned center is known for his high-energy on the court. However, his flare has leapt to the box score more than ever as of late.
The seven-year veteran out of Arkansas has been on four different teams since being drafted. At this point, his time in Milwaukee has arguably been his most successful stretch.
Portis’ early years as a division rival
Portis was drafted 22nd overall in the 2015 NBA draft by none other than the Bucks’ I-94 rivals: the Chicago Bulls.
In an attempt to fill the void down low in the block left by Joakim Noah’s departure, the Bulls drafted the 6’11 icon. Portis was coming off of his second – and best – year in college, averaging 17.5 points per game on 54% shooting from the field.
Portis came in during the demise of a Bulls team that was also in the midst of trading 2011 MVP Derrick Rose. As the team cleaned house for a rebuild, Portis’ minutes per game climbed from 17.8 in 2015 to 24.1 in 2018.
Portis’ role grew, and in the 2017-18 season, he was the Bulls’ second highest scorer (14.1 ppg) behind forward Lauri Markannen (18.7 ppg).
Portis plays for three teams in three years
In 2018, the Bulls shipped Portis off to the Wizards with Jabari Parker and a 2023 second round pick in exchange for Otto Porter Jr.
Portis finished the 2018 season out with the Wizards before signing with the New York Knicks.
Despite having his best year yet in 2018, Portis inhabited a limited role for the Knicks in 2019, as they went out and got Julius Randle in the same year.
Randle saw the majority of the action at the power forward and center spot, while Portis averaged just 10.1 ppg in 21.1 minutes of playing time.
Portis comes to Milwaukee
Following his limited role in New York, Portis signed a two-year, $7.5 million deal to play for a Bucks team that was looking for depth at the forward position.
Portis averaged 11.4 ppg while shooting a career high 52% from the field and 47% from the three-point line, but his role in the Eastern Conference Finals was one of his brightest moments of the season.
With Antetokounmpo hyperextending his knee in game four of the pivotal series against the Atlanta Hawks, Portis started in game five.
He put up a playoff career-high 22 points in 35 minutes with eight rebounds, three assists, and three steals.
At a time when Bucks fans were yet to receive concrete news on the severity of Giannis’ injury, Portis gave the city of Milwaukee reassurance at the power forward spot.
Portis’ phenomenal 2021-22 campaign
Shortly after winning the NBA championship, Milwaukee signed Portis to a two-year, $9 million extension.
This season, he has 15.5 ppg (career-high), 9.1 rebounds per game, and 1.8 blocks in 28.3 mpg, all career-highs.
The Bucks’ release of DeMarcus Cousins made way for Portis, who has shot over 45% from behind the arc since joining Milwaukee, to get more playing time.
He is getting the green light in 29 games this year after starting in 51 games throughout his first six years in the league.
With every NBA team needing depth in a time where anybody can be out for two weeks due to a positive COVID-19 test, Portis adds an extra layer of reassurance to the Bucks as they look to defend their finals run.
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