New York Knicks: Getting to know free agent addition, Bobby Portis

Bobby Portis, Chicago Bulls. New York Knicks. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Bobby Portis, Chicago Bulls. New York Knicks. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The New York Knicks signed many new players this offseason, adding depth to a team that sorely needed it. One move that went under the radar was the acquisition of free agent Bobby Portis.

The New York Knicks signed Bobby Portis to a 2-year deal worth $31 million, with a team option after year one. The 24-year old has had a busy NBA career, but he can still make a significant impact in New York.

After being selected by the Chicago Bulls with the 22nd overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, Portis spent the first three seasons of his career in Chicago before being traded to the Washington Wizards midway through this past season. With both teams in 2018-2019, he averaged 14.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game while shooting 44 percent from the floor.

There are still many questions left about Portis, so it’s time to answer a few prominent ones.

Another power forward?

Many were critical of the New York Knicks after they signed four players whose primary position was power forward such as Julius Randle, Marcus Morris, Taj Gibson, and Portis. However, there is a lot to consider before jumping to negative conclusions. One explanation is that the Knicks didn’t have a single player who was primarily listed as a four on June 30th, after their previous power forwards Noah Vonleh and Lance Thomas entered unrestricted free agency.

Another thing to consider is the versatility among the players added. Morris has played the majority of his minutes at the small forward as recently as two seasons ago, and Portis played 77 percent of his minutes at center with the Wizards. Portis was especially adept at playing the 5, averaging 14.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per game while in Washington.

What are his strengths?

One of Portis’ best attributes is scoring. His points-per-game has increased in every single season. He’s also a quality rebounder, averaging 10.9 boards per 36 minutes throughout his entire career. His defense can be suspect at times, but he’s good at using his 6-11, 250-pound frame to hold his own on the less glamorous end of the court.

Another improving part of his game is his shooting, which should be extremely helpful for the Knicks. Similar to his scoring, Portis’ three-point percentage has also increased with each year. In 2018-19, he hit a career-high mark of 39.3 percent from downtown. His ability to stretch the floor will be crucial for the Knicks due to their abundance of guards who attack the paint with regularity like Dennis Smith Jr. and R.J. Barrett.

How will he fit on this team?

With marquee addition Julius Randle starting at power forward and Mitchell Robinson likely taking the starting center gig after an impressive rookie season, all signs point to Portis coming off the bench. This shouldn’t be a problem for the former Arkansas standout, who had started in just 28 of his 53 games played last season.

Portis was extremely impressive as a backup, averaging more points-per-game and shooting a better percentage from both the field and downtown. (15.4 points, 47.5 percent from the field, and 42.2 percent from three) He’s likely going to continue to produce for the Knicks no matter when or where he plays.

Attitude issues?

Portis’ name might also sound familiar due to the infamous leak of a fight between him and former teammate Nikola Mirotic which led to Portis being suspended for eight games. However, he seems to have put the past behind him and embraced an “underdog mentality.”

Assuming that he continues to be a hard worker while showing his grit and attitude on the court, New York Knicks fans are going to love him.

Next. It’s time for the Knicks to move on from Frank Ntilikina. dark

If his all-around game continues to develop, then he has the potential to have a considerable impact on this year’s Knicks squad and hopefully many more to come.