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Phoenix Suns Draft Profile: Bobby Portis

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Bobby Portis from Arkansas is projected to be available for the Suns at #13. We take a look at his strengths and weaknesses as a prospect.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Name: Bobby Portis

School: Arkansas

Class: Sophomore

Mock Draft Range: DraftExpress - 17, CBS Sports (Sam Vecenie) - 11, Chad Ford - 15

NBA Draft Combine Measurements

Height (w/shoes) Weight Wingspan Reach No Step Vert Max Vert Agility Sprint
6'10.5 246 7'2 9'0.5 25.0 31.5 11.71 3.56

Consensus Strengths

  1. Versatile offensive game: Portis has the ability to score both in the post and from the perimeter. In the post, Portis makes use of his good frame and large reach to work around smaller defenders. He is also strong in transition and on the pick and roll, as long as he doesn't have to finish over aggressive shot blockers. On the perimeter, it is probably early to call Portis a stretch big, as his three point shot is still a work in progress (he took less than 30 on the season, though he hit them at a 40% rate). His mid-range game, however, is consistent, as he hit a good percentage of his shots in the 17-21 foot range. This is a good indicator of Portis' likeliness to be able to develop a three point shot, as is his relatively strong free throw shooting percentage.
  2. Size: Portis simply has good dimensions for the NBA. At 6'11 with a 7'2 wingspan, and coming in at 240+ pounds, Portis should have the versatility to play both the front court positions in today's NBA. More important than simply having good size, however, is the fact that Portis seems to know how to use it. He leveraged his length and girth to box out opponents frequently and get offensive rebounds, despite not being the most explosive athlete.
  3. IQ/Feel for the Game: The phrase that is thrown out in describing Portis is that he 'understands his limitations' and 'knows how to play'. Scouts seem enamored with this, understandably, because it usually is a good signal that a player won't wash out quickly. For a big in particular its an indicator that the floor, the worst possible outcome for the prospect, is relatively high. A good indicator of what scouts are highlighting is Portis' turnover rate which, despite a very high usage rate, is under 10%.
  4. Motor/Energy Level: Portis is aggressive and energetic throughout the game. He has a reputation as a grinder, the kind of guy that will dive and fight for loose balls and rebounds. It is reflected in his defensive effort and his offensive boards, which rank 4th among players in this years draft.

Suns Workout Interview

Consensus Weaknesses

  1. Defensive Rebounding: Despite being such a strong offensive rebounder, Portis is a pedestrian-to-weak defensive rebounder. His 5.2 defensive rebounds per-game puts him well below some of his PF peers, including Kaminsky (6.7), Christian Wood (7.0), Alan Williams (8.7), Kevon Looney (5.8) and Larry Nance Jr. (5.8). Part of the problem for Portis on the defensive end is that he does not have great box out form, which allows more athletic players to simply jump over him for easy rebounds and put backs.
  2. Athleticism: Portis is among the least athletic bigs in this years draft. Compared to other power forwards who participated in the Draft Combine, Portis graded out worse than nearly every other player, though it should be noted that the only first round pick that participated in athletic testing was Jordan Mickey. Generally speaking, however, Portis is known as a below the rim player. He's drawn comparisons to David West in this regard, the major difference being that West was a better rebounder and defender and Portis is likely to be a more versatile offensive player.
  3. Post Offense: While Portis has the ability to score in the post, he has yet to develop a very advanced offensive game, instead often relying on brute force and a size advantage. Those options will disappear in the NBA, and he will need to work on a more nuanced back to the basket game. This is particularly important if Portis is going to be used as a flex-big, who can play both positions. The ability to score efficiently with his back to the basket will be imperative for this to work.
  4. Offensive Decisionmaking: Both Chad Ford and Josh Riddell (DraftExpress) note that Portis has a tendency to settle on offense for perimeter shots, rather than pushing for higher percentage shots. This will become a bigger problem in the NBA, where mid-range shots are generally frowned upon. Portis will need to work on his handle a bit to develop greater confidence in putting the ball on the floor when necessary to attack the basket. This may help him in generating cleaner perimeter shots as well, as it will force defenses to respect his ability to push to the basket.

Fit with Suns

On the surface, Portis seems like a good fit for the Suns. He is a high energy player with a strong work ethic and the ability to stretch the floor on offense. He is also a high IQ player who knows his limits and works within them to improve his team's chance of winning games.

There is no denying that the Suns need these things. Comparatively speaking, however, I'm not sure Portis represents a significantly better option than his direct competition. He has a similar game, both in terms of strengths and weaknesses, to Frank Kaminsky, though Kaminsky has a much more developed offensive game. When compared to Trey Lyles, Portis is a bit more polished of a player and plays with more urgency, but lacks the upside and athleticism.

If both of these players are off of the board when the Suns pick, Portis is a safe choice, if a slight reach in my mind. I have no doubt, however, that Portis will be a productive player in the NBA. A safe pick, if not flashy, may be good for the Suns.

College Stats (per game, per-40 and advanced)