Bulls Outsiders Podcast: Bulls notch 1st win in 2019


Bulls Outsiders Podcast: Bulls notch 1st win in 2019

On this edition of the Bulls Outsiders podcast; Matt Peck, David Watson, and John Sabine recap the Bulls 104-88 win over Cleveland on Monday and discuss what this win means for the team and also the current state of the 2018-19 Chicago Bulls.

1:32 - Does beating the worst team in the league mean anything for the Bulls?

4:57 - Breaking down the wins in the 2018-19 Chicago Bulls season

8:50 - Are the Bulls willing to move on from Kris Dunn?

12:14 - On Wayne Selden Jr. getting more minutes than Jabari Parker

13:02 - Are the Outsiders "Night People?"

14:58 - Has it been better to be a Cavaliers fan or Bulls fan over the last 20 years?

21:09 - Three Potential Coaches who could replace Jim Boylen next season

23:45 - What if Stacey and Neil called Derrick Rose's game winner vs. Suns?

25:31 - The Outsiders "Dream" Coaching Candidates

Don't forget, you can watch Bulls Outsiders after Bulls Postgame Live on NBC Sports Chicago following every game. You can also stream the show on Facebook Live and interact with Matt, John and David.

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Bulls player preview: Otto Porter critical on both ends


Bulls player preview: Otto Porter critical on both ends

NBC Sports Chicago will preview a different Bulls player every weekday leading up to the start of training camp in late September.

Previous reviews: Lauri Markkanen | Ryan Arcidiacono | Antonio Blakeney | Coby White | Daniel Gafford | Wendell Carter Jr. | Luke Kornet | Cristiano Felicio | Tomas Satoransky | Chandler Hutchison

How last year went

Otto Porter was a part of the Washington Wizards’ struggles during the first part of the 2018-19 season. With John Wall on the mend and the offense in dysfunction, Porter’s efficiency dipped to 46.5% from the field (after two straight seasons above 50%) and just 36.9% from beyond the arc (after shooting 43.4% and 44.1% the two previous seasons). Even Porter’s free throw percentage had dipped down to 76.6% after two seasons above 82%.

But the 25-year-old Porter resumed his elite shooting following the Feb. 6 trade to the Bulls. In 15 games, he shot 48.3% from the field, made a whopping 48.8% of his 80 3-point attempts and shot better than 90% from the free throw line. Like the rest of the Bulls’ core, Porter’s season was cut short with injury, but he showed enough in those 15 games to instill confidence in him as a core piece of the Year 3 rebuild.

Expectations for this year's role

Porter’s role is pretty much locked in. He’ll take on a No. 3 scoring role behind Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen similar to the one he had in Washington behind John Wall and Bradley Beal. Even in just a 15-game span, it was obvious how much better the Bulls offense was spaced with Porter in the lineup. He may run some pick-and-roll action with Markkanen or Wendell Carter, but the majority of his offense will come from spot-up shooting, off-the-dribble pull-up jumpers and cuts to the basket. He’s not overly versatile as an offensive player, but what he’s good at, he does very well.

Defensively, Porter will be tasked with defending the opposition’s best wing player each night. It’s a tall order but Porter is far and away the Bulls’ best perimeter defender and has the length and quickness to defend multiple positions. Given the Bulls won’t have the best defensive starting lineup in the NBA (only Wendell Carter is a true positive among the other four), Porter’s ability on that end of the floor becomes even more critical. Plenty will be asked of Porter, but the Bulls want to get their $27.2 million’s worth.

Where he excels

Porter has been one of the NBA’s most accurate 3-point shooters over the last three seasons. He’s one of six players since 2017 to shoot better than 42% from deep on more than 4 attempts per game, and he’s in good company there: Steph Curry, Joe Ingles, Joe Harris, Kyle Korver and Seth Curry. Porter’s distinction there, of course, is that he’s not a 3-point specialist like Harris, Korver and Seth Curry. Porter has also made 54% of his 2-point attempts in that span.

All that leads to Porter being an efficiency dream. He has never turned the ball over more than 75 times in s season, and for his career is averaging 0.8 turnovers per game in nearly 27 minutes. His turnover rate has ranked 24th, sixth and first the last three seasons. Few turnovers and made 3-pointers is a recipe for success in today’s NBA, and the fact that he provides stability on the defensive end makes him all the more valuable.

6-foot-8 wing defenders are hard to come by, but the Bulls certainly have one in Porter. In 2018, Porter was ranked fourth in Defensive RPM among small forwards (2.05), with only Robert Covington, Kyle Anderson and Andre Iguodala ahead of him. In 2017, Porter ranked 21st in the category, and last season he was 35th (though his Washington and Chicago teams were terrible as a whole, which certainly didn’t help his cause). The hope is that Porter will return to his elite defensive ways in a Boylen-led scheme and an entire offseason to mesh with his new teammates.

Where he struggles

Porter surprised many by his passing in Chicago. In a small 15-game sample size, he averaged 2.7 assists per game. His career-high for an entire season is 1.6, and he averages 1.5 for his career. He reached his career high with eight assists in an early March game against the Pistons.

But Porter isn’t much of a playmaker, even if he does more of it in Chicago than he did in Washington. That’s not to say he needs to be one, but it was much easier to sit back and shoot when your offense had John Wall and Bradley Beal. Even if Porter can flirt with three assists per game, it’d go a long way to taking some of the burden off guys like Tomas Satoransky, Zach LaVine and others in the backcourt.

Best case/worst case

In a best-case scenario, Porter returns to his 2017 and 2018 form with the Wizards. He was one of the league’s most efficient shooters. More importantly, he did it for teams ranked 15th and 8th in offensive efficiency. Porter himself is a fine player, but when his teammates are feeding him and taking advantage of defenses keying in on the sharpshooting wing, the offense as a whole gets better. That’s the goal. Defensively, he continues to hound wings on the perimeter and begins the transition – along with Carter – of the Bulls creating a defensive identity.

In a worst-case scenario, Porter doesn’t receive enough looks and isn’t able to make an impact, as was the case in Washington last season after Wall went down. He’s always going to be a plus individual defender, but if his efforts don’t translate to better team defense then he suddenly becomes a very expensive 3-point shooter. Porter will be at his best (or worst) based on what the Bulls do as a whole.

One key stat

Porter played 15 games with the Bulls last season, from Feb. 8 to Mar. 17. In that span, the Bulls ranked ninth in offensive efficiency, 11th in effective field goal percentage and ninth in true shooting percentage. The Bulls won’t be that good over the court of an 82-game season, but it was a small peak into what could be unlocked with a player like Porter roaming the perimeter.

Could Iman Shumpert help fill two needs for the Bulls?


Could Iman Shumpert help fill two needs for the Bulls?

The Bulls need help on the wing. They seemingly struck gold in Otto Porter, who the Wizards dumped at last year’s trade deadline in the wake of John Wall’s season-ending Achilles tear. And they have draft capital invested in first-round pick Chandler Hutchison, who after breaking his toe 44 games into his rookie season suffered a hamstring strain last month that cut his offseason workouts short.

Past those two, the wing situation is murky. “Position-less basketball” is the league’s favorite new buzzword, but Adam Mokoka, Denzel Valentine, Zach LaVine and Shaq Harrison are more on the shooting guard side of things and would make for a rather small defensive lineup if two of them shared the floor.

Significant help isn’t on the way. The Bulls couldn’t have addressed all their needs this offseason, and they valued point guard (Coby White, Tomas Satoransky) and frontcourt (Daniel Gafford, Thaddeus Young, Luke Kornet) depth over improvement and/or numbers on the wing. It’s September 18, and any difference makers have found teams as training camp nears.

But maybe the Bulls can find a smidgen of help on the free-agency wire. According to Stadium’s Shams Charania, Iman Shumpert couldn’t come to an agreement with the Houston Rockets after “months of discussion” between the two sides.

So Shumpert needs a new home. He’s still just 29 years old but has carved out a role as a veteran presence, having played for four different teams in eight seasons. He has appeared in 79 playoff games, including playing a key role off the bench for the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers. Last season he spent 42 games with the Sacramento Kings before being shipped to the Houston Rockets in February. He played 20 games in Houston, averaging 19.1 minutes, and played in eight of the Rockets’ 11 postseason games. He took on an increased role in Round 2 against the Warriors, averaging 15.4 minutes.

But the Rockets, for whatever reason, are moving on. Shumpert wasn’t all that impressive in Houston, averaging 4.6 points on 34.6% shooting (and, more importantly, 29.6% from beyond the arc) in 19.1 minutes. He was a fourth or fifth option on the iso-heavy Rockets, so his per-game numbers were never going to flourish, but the Rockets are clearly looking for better 3-point shooting off the bench.

Shumpert isn’t a perfect fit, but perhaps the Bulls will consider adding the Oak Park, Ill., native.

Shumpert didn’t give the Rockets much, but he was solid in Sacramento’s uptempo offense, something the Bulls are attempting to partially recreate this season. Shumpert averaged 8.9 points on 38.2% shooting and 36.6% from beyond the arc with the Kings, and added 3.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.1 steals in 26.2 minutes. More importantly, Shumpert was a key veteran presence for a young Kings team that made a significant jump from 27 to 39 wins last season. At the time of the Kings-Rockets trade, the Kings were 28-25 and in the hunt for the No. 8 seed in the West.

His experience would play well in the Bulls locker room. The Bulls roster has three players with playoff experience (Porter, Young, Satoransky) totaling 98 games. Shumpert alone has 79 playoff games under his belt – more than any of those three – and reached the mountaintop in 2016 with LeBron James and the Cavs. It’s tough to replicate three NBA Finals appearances and a ring.

Though he stands just 6-foot-5, Shumpert has always played bigger. In fact, he played 75% of his minutes at small forward between the Kings and Rockets last season. If nothing else than a stabilizing locker room presence and experienced teacher, Shumpert could push Hutchison for minutes. Again, the Bulls wouldn’t be bringing in Shumpert as a significant difference maker who moves the needle at the bottom of the Eastern Conference playoff race. But the Bulls also have the NBA’s second youngest roster. A group like that can never have enough veterans, and Shumpert having a track record of helping in Sacramento - as well as filling a need on the wing - would make him an excellent fit in Chicago.

He also played in Houston under assistant Roy Rogers, who joined Jim Boylen’s staff this summer, so there’s familiarity. Chicago homecomings haven’t exactly gone well the last handful of seasons, but Shumpert would be a low-risk option that could help push the rebuild forward.