It was Wednesday night when the Bulls made a surprising trade to acquire Otto Porter Jr. from the Washington Wizards. Although they had been looking to trade away Jabari Parker for a while now, giving away Bobby Portis seemed like a risky move given the fact that he had been playing really well since the start of the new season, averaging 14.1 PPG while shooting 50 percent from the field. Despite a mixed bag of reactions regarding the trade, the Bulls felt confident in their newest addition to a young core.
Otto Porter played his first game as a Chicago Bull on Friday night against a hot Brooklyn Nets team. Coming to Chicago from Washington, he had a reputation of being a strong defender, solid scorer, and an overall good locker room presence. In his first game as a Bull, he showed that he could be an excellent fit in the future. In 34 minutes of play, he scored 18 points on 7-9 shooting, while also showing some range, shooting 4-5 from behind the three-point line. In addition to his strong offensive game, Porter demonstrated that he could contribute on the defensive end which is something the Bulls really STINK at right now.
What really stood out to me was the team player that Porter is. Whenever any of his teammates made a shot or a big play, he was the first one to cheer them on and credit them for that play. Rather than focusing on his own stats and game, he was the first to help anyone up if they hit the floor, continually pumped up his teammates after a bad play, and gave maximum effort. With Coach Jim Boylen struggling to keep the locker room together after a tough stretch of basketball, Porter may be just what the doctor ordered in hopes of fixing the chemistry within the locker room.
The Bulls had one of their best defensive performances of the season. Coach Boylen explained Porter’s impact as an immediate leader. He was impressed with his communication skills on both ends of the court. Overall he was a great leader on the court. As reported by K.C. Johnson, the Bulls seemed to have fun on the court for the first time in a long time.
A very upbeat Zach LaVine in the postgame locker room: “I had fun for the first time in a little bit out there. We looked like a good basketball team. I don’t want to hang it too hard on one game. But we got a little bit of excitement right now.”
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) February 9, 2019
Maybe this is a sign of good things to come in the future. The goal of this season is to build chemistry among all the young players on the team. This was the first time that everything started clicking. Maybe it’s too soon to jump to conclusions. After all it’s only one game. However, after watching the game, it is evident that this new starting five consisting of Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, Otto Porter, Lauri Markkanen, and Wendell Carter Jr. has the potential be very bright. If the team keeps playing hard, I have no doubts that this team could make some noise soon. And Porter may be the final addition to this core that takes them to their destination.
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