The Hawks’ season may have come to a disappointing end, but they do have something to look forward to: they will swap draft picks with the Brooklyn Nets. So instead of being forced into taking one of the last picks of the first round, the Hawks will get to pick 15th, a place where a lot of budding college talent is still available.
Throughout this series, HawksHoop will take a look at players who will potentially be available in the middle of the draft, and we will assess how each player can fit with the Hawks. First up? Bobby Portis.
Power Forward, 6’10.5, 246 lbs. Sophomore, University of Arkansas, 20 years old
2014-15 college stats:
29.9 minutes, 17.5 points, 53.6 FG%, 46.7 3P%, 73.7 FT%, 1.2 assists, 8.9 rebounds, 1.1 steals, 1.4 blocks, 29.5 PER.
At 6’10.5″, and a wingspan of 7’2”, Bobby Portis has great size for a power forward, and even center if the team wants to stretch the floor out. With that size, Portis was able to grab 8.9 rebounds a game in only 29.9 minutes per game. With the height, wingspan, and weight, Portis should be able to bang down low with most NBA bigs for rebounds. In his last year, Portis was able to pull down 3.7 offensive rebounds per game, good for tenth most offensive rebounds in the country. For comparison, Jahlil Okafor averaged 3.4 for the season, but grabbed one more offensive rebound than Portis for the whole season, with two extra games to do it.
Going along with his size, the defense wasn’t great in college, but with a little work, he should be able to be a passable defender in the NBA. He’s not a great jumper like DeAndre Jordan, and he’s not quick like Anthony Davis, but his mechanics aren’t bad, and he shows good effort on that side of the ball.
Another strength that could be incredibly important for Portis’ evaluations would be his mid-range to outside shooting. Portis only took 38 threes on the season, so it’s a super small sample size, but he did show promise by shooting 46.7 percent. Portis’ free throw shooting percentage was 73.7 for both his freshman and sophomore seasons, so that could show a little bit of promise. However, his release is pretty slow, and he doesn’t get much lift at all on his shot, so that could cause some trouble with NBA players closing out faster.
The last strength for Portis would be his everlasting effort. Portis is always going all out, which is shown by his offensive rebounding numbers. It’s always good to have a player who you can count on to show up every night, and fight for loose balls, especially since Portis isn’t the most athletic guy.
Like I just mentioned above, Bobby Portis isn’t a great athlete. Portis posted a 25 inch standing vertical at the combine, and a 31.5 max vertical. His standing vertical was one of the worst out of everyone who attempted it, and his max vertical was only slightly better. He is really going to have to take advantage of his size against teams that go small because he won’t be able to run faster, or out-jump them.
Another obstacle Portis might face is his defense. I stated earlier that he won’t be great, and that can be attributed to his lack of athleticism, as well as his lack of size. He was just average, to below-average at the combine with his wingspan, and his standing reach.
Lastly, Bobby’s free throw rate decreased from his freshman to sophomore year. Now, this could be due to Portis shooting more mid-range jumpers, but it would be really nice for Portis to average more than 4.3 free throws per 30 minutes.
Fit with the Atlanta Hawks:
The Atlanta Hawks are going to have a few free agents in Pero Antic, Paul Millsap, and Elton Brand this offseason, so the Hawks could use Bobby Portis as some insurance in case one or two of those guys don’t come back. Mike Scott will be back, but he struggled in the playoffs, and it will be interesting to see what Budenholzer does with him next season. Portis would be able to provide some nice rebounding, energy, and possible outside shooting to stretch the floor. Although he’s not very athletic, he uses his energy to try and make up for it. If the Hawks are looking for a backup power forward, Bobby Portis might be their guy.
*stats from basketball-reference, DraftExpress, and NBA.com*