He’s a fan favourite, he’s a heck of a team player and he’s stepped up this season when the Bucks have needed him most – to replace the injured Brook Lopez. Let’s have a look at the importance of Bobby Portis to the Bucks this season.
Replacing Brook Lopez
It was never going to be an easy task for whoever stepped in to the starting five to replace the injured Brook Lopez, who has been out since opening night. Not only is Brook the biggest player on the team standing at seven feet, but he was instrumental in last season’s Championship run.
Brook’s play on the defensive end can not be stated enough. His talent to defend the paint and shut down the opponents big men was more important than some realise last year – especially those who believed that he should have been traded. That added with his offensive output made him one of the most important players on the Bucks roster last season.
That’s where Bobby stepped in. He had big shoes to fill… literally.
Career year for Bobby
Bobby was already a fans favourite after last season. Then he worked his way deeper into the hearts of Bucks fans when he signed a crazy cheap deal. When Bobby signed the contract, everyone expected him to be the backup to Brook and everyone was pretty chuffed that.
Brook’s back injury and subsequent surgery has opened the door for The Underdog and he has taken full advantage of the opportunity. In a year where he’s averaging a career high in minutes at 29 per game, he’s using these minutes wisely. Bobby is hitting career highs in points per game (15.5), field goals made (6), 3 pointers made (2.1) and rebounds (9.1).
It’s worth noting that he is averaging his second best 3pt shooting % of his career – only behind his output last year for the Bucks. He’s averaging the most blocks if his career at 0.8 per game. This might not seem like much to most but it should not be ignored. His best before this? 0.4 blocks per game. He is doubling his blocking output when the Bucks need it most.
For those who look at a players Plus/Minus… you guessed it, Bobby has a career high here too. Not only a career high, but he is smashing his previous best of +2.1. Bobby is +4.9 per game. Yes, I’m aware he’s playing with Giannis and the rest of the starters but that’s a huge and significant change in the right direction.
Brook or Bobby
At the start of the season, I had this conversation a handful of times. I’ll be honest, I said start Brook and have Bobby come off the bench as a strong role player. Now I’m not so sure. Bobby has worked hard for the team this year. He has certainly given the coaching staff a headache when Brook returns.
For a man averaging $4.5million per year, he has been an absolute steal this year. I think we can all agree that he deserves a pay raise after this season and the Bucks best pay up.
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