With all the big bombs dropping today about Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving, and Al Horford, smaller names are slipping through the rumor mill as well. One such name is Wizards forward Bobby Portis, who was rumored by Chase Hughes of NBC Sports to be drawing interest from a variety of teams in free agency, including the Clippers.
Portis is a four year veteran power forward/center who was drafted by the Bulls in 2015, and traded to the Wizards this past deadline. This season, aged 23, he averaged career highs in points (14.2), rebounds (8.1) and three-point shooting (39.3% on 3.6 attempts) across his stints with the Bulls and Wizards. From the surface level, he seems like an improving young big man with some range, a talented get for the Clippers. He’s also an energetic presence on the floor, and an intense individual who seems all about basketball.
However, Portis has some flaws. Most notably, he’s an atrocious defender, one of the worst at any position in the NBA. Despite his size, he can’t protect the rim at all, and is too slow both physically and in terms of instincts to defend on the perimeter. Simply put, he’s a sieve, and that’s not a good thing for a big man, where defense is more important. More worryingly, his issues are not due to lack of effort or physicality, but simply poor technique and understanding of the game, which is harder to improve. Really, he’s a fine role player, but he doesn’t seem like a guy who plays winning basketball.
The interesting part of this rumor is what it says about the Clippers’ other plans. Portis is looking for a legit contract this summer (he wants 4/64, but probably won’t get it), and the Clippers don’t have the room at the big man positions to give him one barring a trade. The easiest way to get to a Portis signing both in terms of salary and role is for a Danilo Gallinari trade, which would clear up a role as a starting power forward for Portis. Keep an eye on Gallo rumors as the draft approaches on Thursday, because that’s when Gallo would likely get moved.