Bobby Portis – Small risk, big reward?


Bobby Portis is the least-riskiest player in this draft. (Photo credit to arkansasonline.com)
Bobby Portis is the least-riskiest player in this draft. (Photo credit to arkansasonline.com)

After two good years at the University of Arkansas, Bobby Portis decided it was time he hand in his college jersey for a NBA one

The former big man for the Razorbacks shouldn’t have too rough of an adjustment to the NBA.

Here is what I see.

Physically, Portis is sound. At 6-foot-10 and 235-pounds, Portis not only has NBA power forward size, but he also knows how to use it.

He runs the floor in the transition and it makes me think I’m watching Chris Bosh or Kevin Garnett run. Now, he would be lucky to have half of the career of either, but there are some similarities to both.

He is quick-footed on defense, and that will help him guard pick-and-rolls and pick-and-pops better than some other incoming big men.

I can’t say I have watched him play a lot; but the games I did watch, I always thought he did more things correctly than incorrectly. That goes a long way. He was very consistent, and he progressed from his freshman to his sophomore season.

Portis is a player that won’t hurt a team. His basketball I.Q. is a lot better than people give him credit for, and he knows how to use his body to his advantage.

He averaged 17.5 points per game and 8.9 rebounds. He also averaged over a block and a steal per game. I would like to see him average another assist or two and shoot the three a little better, but his numbers show that he is a solid player. He shot better than 53 percent from the field this season.

One cause for concern is when he played against Kentucky this season, he went nine-for-18 from the field for 28 points and 10 rebounds in the two meetings between the teams. I would have liked for him to be more aggressive against that kind of competition.

Also, he went one-for-14 against Georgia in the SEC tournament, but I understand that bad games happen.

He rebounded well in the NCAA tournament, despite poor shooting. He went 10-of-27 from the field for 33 points, 27 rebounds and six steals in two games.

He had 10 double-doubles this season in which he shot at least 50 percent from the field.

He will block a decent amount of shots in the NBA, but I wouldn’t call him a “rim protector” by any means.

He is not a flashy athlete. I would say he has average athleticism, like Bosh, but he uses his basketball smarts to help him limit his disadvantage in that area.

On offense, I wouldn’t call him a “power” player, but rather crafty. He is very good around the rim, and has several moves and counters. He does have the strength to finish through contact, but getting stronger would only help him.

He has an interesting shot. It is unorthodox and his release is very high, but he is able to knock down shots. It’s a slow shot, but he shouldn’t have much of an issue getting it off because of his height.

His isn’t terrible off the dribble. He showed the ability to take his man to the basket, but I’m not sure how good he will be at it at the next level. I’m guessing he will rely more on his strength to get by players.

In my mock draft, I have Portis headed to Oklahoma City with the No. 14 pick. I believe he is worthy of a lottery pick because of the skills he will bring to a team. I wish he was more of a threat from outside the arc, but that should come in due time.

While Serge Ibaka is still a good player for the Thunder, he might become a valuable trade asset. He is slated to make over $12 million next year, and is still 25-years old.

If Portis were a little more athletic and more of a defensive presence, there would be no question about him as a top 10 pick. I think he will go in the mid-teens, and whoever drafts him will be pleasantly surprised with him.

I think he can become a very good player in this league, maybe even a star.

When there is not much wrong with a player, there isn’t much risk involved. Portis is the least-riskiest pick in the class of 2015.

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