Portis Proves Critical for Bucks as Talented Big


After the Miami Heat ousted the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Playoffs last year, Milwaukee needed a fresh look. The team required new size and athleticism comprising the supporting cast around Giannis. They also wanted the toughness and defensive versatility that the Heat had. Signing Bobby Portis to a two-year contract with a second-year player option fulfills all those needs.

On top of that, Portis is a perfect option to play alongside Giannis if the Bucks want to go small.

The season is young, just ten games in, and Portis’s move to Milwaukee seems like a great fit for both sides. His offensive rating is 121(!), and his Defensive Points Allowed per 100 poss. is 106.


Why did Portis need the Bucks?

It is simple, and Portis said as much after the Bucks recently thumped Chicago by 30: He is ready to win.

Portis has only been to the postseason once in his first five NBA seasons. As he enters his sixth season, Portis is aching for team success and a postseason trip.

Portis has shown his happiness with his flexin’ routine after big plays.

Why the Bucks signed Portis

In the Bucks’ most recent game, Portis showed well in his spot-start for Giannis, who sat with back spasms. Giannis sustained an injury after a hard foul and subsequent hard fall. Who wanted the smoke? Portis.

Just some of the toughness and grittiness the Bucks sought.

But Portis showed skill, too, collecting a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds.

The Bucks’ backup big in 2019-’20 was Robin Lopez, who isn’t a good defender and isn’t versatile. Portis is a big who can guardthe four and five. He is comfortable away from the hoop offensively and is a solid rebounder.

The Bucks’ only option in small lineups guarding centers was Giannis. Now, Portis and Giannis in a small-ball lineup, looking ahead, is a solid pairing.

In eight games, Portis sports a 61.4% true shooting percentage. He averages 11.0 points and 8.3 rebounds in less than 24 minutes per game. He also shoots 54 percent from the field and 40 percent from three. Having a big like Portis who can spread the floor for Giannis and defend multiple positions will be tremendous for the Bucks.

All the chatter this offseason was about the acquisition of Jrue Holiday and the failed Bogdan Bogdanovic deal. However, fewer noticed the Portis acquisition. The move appears to be a shrewd signing by Jon Horst. Bobby and the Bucks seem like a perfect union– Bobby wants to win, and the Bucks need his size off the bench, grit, energy and toughness.

Beyond Box Score

In a season without crowds, the constant energy Portis provides seems insignificant, but it could provide value beyond the box score. The season is just ten games old, but we’ve seen enough to know Portis is an excellent fit with the Bucks. His motor and toughness as the season continues will exemplify this fact to all fans.

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About Mitchell Skurzewski

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