3 Takeaways: Otto-matic Porter is showing off new tricks with the Bulls

Michael Walton
NBC Sports Chicago

3 Takeaways: Otto-matic Porter is showing off new tricks with the Bulls originally appeared on nbcsportschicago.com

Otto-matic Porter is showing off new tricks in Chicago

Otto Porter Jr. came to the Bulls in a trade for Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker, and his reputation among coming to the Bulls was that of a great 3-and-D wing who perhaps didn't shot enough.

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That certainly doesn't look like it will be a problem during his Bulls tenure.

Porter has been great as a Bull, and much more aggressive than any point in his Wizards career. This season with Washington, he was getting up 10.8 field goal attempts per game. Over 4 games with Chicago, Porter's shots per game are up to 14.5.

On a night where Kris Dunn was out, the Bulls did more ball-handling by committee than usual and it played a small role in OPJ getting off to a torrid start in this game. He finished the first half with 21 points on 8/9 shooting from the field, and this included going 3/3 from the 3-point line.

The normally catch-and-shot-heavy Porter has scored a variety of ways with the Bulls. His shot profile under Jim Boylen has included a lot more off the dribble, post-up and pick-and-roll scoring opportunities.

But while Porter's shooting is obviously his main strength, his ability to play competent team defense is just as important. He has been one of the best SFs in the league over the past few seasons if you are looking at just the advanced numbers, and he has kept that up in Chicago as well.

In 2018-19 Porter had a (-.0.7) plus minus rating in 41 games with Washington, but his plus minus rating is a (+5.3) so far in his Bulls career. Porter has helped the Bulls tremendously on both sides of the ball, and Boylen no doubt loves having a player who doesn't need much tutoring AND can actually assist him in explaining defensive concepts to the younger players.

Boylen has lots of praise for Mr. Otto-matic in his postgame presser. When asked if he has talked much to Porter about his role, Boylen admitted that he didn't want to take too much credit for anything Porter has been doing as of late, and simply stated how much the Bulls believe in him and would look to him for offense.

"I have talked to him about being aggressive.....about how we're gonna run stuff for him."

Boylen mentioned how he spoke with Wizards coach Scott Brooks about the positives of the players involved in the Portis-Parker-Porter trade, and how Brooks mentioned the conversations he had with Porter about shooting more on offense. It is safe to say that Boylen would likely agree that whatever Brooks said in those talks definitely helped.

Porter had only been shooting about 10 times a night all season, and then in the month of January he took 12.6 field goal attempts per game. And now in February, Porter is taking 13 shots per game. He rising level of aggression on offense is shown in those figures.

Boylen mentioned a conversation that he had earlier on Wednesday with Bulls special advisor Doug Collins, who Boylen said told him, "[Otto Porter,] He's a basketball player, you can put him out there and he's gonna make some stuff happen."

Boylen added, "We need the guy and obviously we love the way he is playing."

Let the young Bulls run....

Coming into Wednesday night's game against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Bulls ranked 20th in the league with 11.5 fastbreak points per game. In Wednesday night's game, the Bulls racked up 11 fastbreak points in the first quarter alone.

Head coach Jim Boylen talked a bit postgame about how well the team had appeared to be gelling since he addition of Otto Porter,  stating, "Our flow has been good."

Chicago would only tack on 6 more fastbreak points throughout the game to finish with 17, but those 17 fastbreak points represent a mark that would be 6th in the league if maintained over a full season. Fans and critics alike have been asking to see the Bulls get out in transition more with young talent like Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn capable of producing in a fast offense.

Over the last five games, the Bulls have ranked 16th in the league with 14.2 PPG in transition.

But it isn't all about the fastbreak points. The Bulls are a team short of players who can score one-on-one, with LaVine obviously standing out as the supreme shot-creator of the group. So, to enable the rest of the group to generate great shots, it behooves the Bulls to attack early in the shot clock.

It is easier to catch a set defense off-guard when you make quick decisions, and the Bulls executed this perfectly in the first period, racking up 14 assist on 15 made field goals. They have looked like a completely different team following the now infamous Porter-Portis-Parker swap. Hopefully, we will get to see more of the high-flying Bulls soon. Post All-Star break, Chicago will matchup will three straight top-10 defenses in the Magic, Celtics and Bucks, so generating easy buckets in transition will be a must.

Nothin' but love for Joakim Noah

Joakim Noah was in Chicago on Wednesday for the third time as an opposing player and it was a joyous occasion. Noah was largely ineffective in the game, only producing 8 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists in 20 minutes of action. But Noah was one of the few Grizzlies who finished the game with a positive plus minus rating (+8) and also contributed two nice blocks in his stint on the floor. But the most important part of the night was the love showered on Noah from Bulls faithful, who gave Jo a standing ovation when he checked into the game.

During Noah's time with the Bulls we (mostly) laughed, (sometimes) cried, but Bulls Nation was always appreciative of the fact that Noah--the Bulls No. 9 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft--gave it his all everytime he stepped foot on the court.

Only Father Time knows how much longer Noah can play NBA basketball, but we for one, are certainly happy that the awesome and eccentric Noah--who has a lifelong spot in the hearts of Bulls fans everywhere--will get to end things on his own note.

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