David Nwaba probably isn't the Bulls' longterm option at guard, but he's certainly making the most of his starting opportunity.
Signed this offseason in a move framed as Gar Forman and John Paxson taking a low-risk flyer on an athletic defender, the 24-year-old Cal Poly alumnus has impacted games with his high energy and all-around floor game.
Case and point: Friday's feel-good, 105-83 road win over a surprisingly solid Orlando Magic squad, where Nwaba finished with 16 points, five boards, two steals while posting a game-high plus-21.
Maybe the most eye-opening moment of the Bulls' second victory of the season, though, was the block party invitation Nwaba hand-delivered to Magic forward Wesley Iwundu:
It caps a solid road trip for the second-year pro, who's played in only 27 career NBA games. In the Bulls' loss to Miami on Wednesday -- Nwaba's first start of the season -- he snagged 11 rebounds and rejected two shots.
And while there are clear limitations to Nwaba's offensive game (see: outside shooting), his high motor, pressure defense and, you guessed it, ridiculous blocks have been welcoming sights for a team with a penchant to miss assignments and allow the more-than-occasional blow by.
"I don’t expect you to know who I am," Nwaba wrote in a Player's Tribune essay just after being claimed by the Bulls. "I’m just thankful to have the chance to tell you."
It looks like he's done telling us now, opting instead to just show us:
Nwaba will lose minutes to Zach LaVine once the Bulls' top talent recovers from ACL injury, but as of now, he's played himself into a future rotation.
The wait for Otto Porter Jr. continues---and continues to lengthen.
Porter, who has been out since Nov. 6, now will be reassessed in four weeks after visiting Dr. Bob Anderson, a noted foot and ankle specialist, Monday in Green Bay, Wis. In a release, the Bulls said Anderson confirmed Porter’s bone injury in his left foot. The team also said the “healing response (is) consistent with a small fracture that has become more clearly defined with repeated imaging over the last five weeks.”
Porter will remain in his walking boot for now. And the Bulls’ depth at small forward, which also currently features Chandler Hutchison out with a bruised shoulder, will continue to be tested.
Kris Dunn will remain in a starting role until Hutchison returns. Denzel Valentine also has taken advantage of his opportunity created by these injuries.
However, Porter’s absence is significant. He's a reliable two-way player who adds shooting, leadership and versatility at both ends. Though he got off to a slow start this season, he had started to play impactful minutes just before he got injured.
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On this edition of the Bulls Outsiders podcast, Matt Peck, David Watson, and John Sabine react to the Bulls 93-92 loss to Toronto.
0:45 - Reaction to losing another close game
2:00 - Kendall Gill stops by to give Matt Peck a hard time about Derrick Rose
3:30 - On Wendell Carter Jr and wanting more
4:45 - Viewer comment on Bulls shooting 46 three-point attempts
7:20 - Concern over Lauri Markkanen
8:10 - Viewer comment still believing in Lauri
9:40 - Viewer comment on Wendell Carter and Daniel Gafford
12:10 - Viewer comment on running more pick n roll w Zach and Lauri
15:35 - Viewer question on Otto Porter and Hutchison
16:30 - Viewer trade idea: Kevin Love for Markkanen
17:15 - Any comfort in coming close to beating two of the top teams in the East?
20:30 - Viewer comment on losing games
23:00 - Viewer comment on Coby should start
24:05 - Viewer comment pandering to John Sabine
24:40 - Sabine shares his weird dream that involves Jim Boylen
Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: