Bulls

NBA Draft Tracker: Porter Jr. could benefit Bulls...if they can get him

porter_jr.jpg
USA TODAY

NBA Draft Tracker: Porter Jr. could benefit Bulls...if they can get him

NBA scouts and general managers have been forced to tweak their travel schedules over the last couple weeks with the return of Michael Porter Jr. to game competition.

The 6-10 forward played in his first game since the season opener last week in a Southeastern Conference tournament quarterfinal, and he showed the effects of a 4 month lay-off, making just 5 of 17 shots without the explosiveness he displayed as the nation’s top high school prospect.

Porter Jr. told reporters he’s only around 65% physically following back surgery in early November, so NBA talent evaluators won’t be making any final decisions based on what they saw last week or will see in Missouri’s NCAA tournament game against Florida St. on Friday. Matter of fact, he’ll probably earn high marks from scouts and executives for returning as early as he did to try to help his team in the most important games of the season. 

Porter Jr.’s high school tape shows a fluid combo forward with exceptional scoring ability in the post, mid-range and beyond the arc. And, that tape will probably carry more weight as teams start lining up their draft boards.

How might Porter Jr. fit with the Bulls? Well, even coming off back surgery, there’s no questioning his potential as an elite scorer on the NBA level. Scouts project Porter Jr. as a combo forward, capable of playing the 3 spot because of his mobility and shooting range. The Bulls would love to draft a small forward prospect with Porter Jr.’s skill-set, but unless he has a medical setback, it seems unlikely he’ll fall lower than 6th. And, as we’ve all seen with results among the bottom 9 teams over the last few weeks, the Bulls won’t be moving up in the draft order unless they beat the odds in the May 15th lottery.

Porter Jr. could go as high as 3rd if he shows well in medical testing and individual team workouts later this spring, and may wind up right alongside Deandre Ayton and Marvin Bagley as the best long-term prospects in this year’s draft class. So, don’t worry if Porter Jr. isn’t at his best in the NCAA tournament, NBA talent evaluators have already done their homework on a versatile scorer who’s already been compared to some of the top stars in the game.

Report: NBA and ESPN planning a televised H-O-R-S-E competition

Report: NBA and ESPN planning a televised H-O-R-S-E competition

The NBA and ESPN are teaming up to plan a televised H-O-R-S-E competition among "several high-profile players," according to reporting by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

It's the latest in a line of creative ideas from the NBA and ESPN to fill the void left by the indefinite suspension of live sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Friday night, ESPN broadcast the first half of the first round of a players-only NBA 2K20 tournament, to run through April 11.

No details have emerged as it relates to a timeline of events, which players would participate or what the format of the H-O-R-S-E competition would be.

Players would trade trick shots virtually, according to Wojnarowski. Many NBA players undoubtedly have private home gyms or courts from which they could safely compete.

This isn't the first time the NBA has waded into the H-O-R-S-E waters. In 2009 and 2010, H-O-R-S-E was broadcast on TNT as a regular part of All-Star weekend festivities before being cancelled in 2011 (Kevin Durant won the competition both years). And understandably so. This matchup, between Durant and Rajon Rondo, devolved into a standstill 3-point contest narrated by a boisterous Charles Barkley:

That event was a reclamation of a 32-player H-O-R-S-E tournament the league broadcast on CBS during the 1977-78 season, which Paul Westphal won over Rick Barry. Barry made the finals as a replacement for an injured Pete Maravich, who absolutely trounced his way through the tourney. 

At least there was some creativity back then:

Of course, all of the league's past H-O-R-S-E experiments were held in person with fans in attendance. It remains to be seen how they'll look to spice up this iteration of the competition.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.

Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan highlight decorated Hall of Fame class

Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan highlight decorated Hall of Fame class

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame announced its official Class of 2020 on Saturday. And my word is it stacked:

Headlined by Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and the late Kobe Bryant, this is one of the most star-studded classes in history. Also set to be honored: 10-time WNBA All-Star and four-time Olympic gold medalist Tamika Catchings, three-time NCAA-champion coach Kim Mulkey, five-time Division II National Coach of the Year Barbara Stevens, four-time National Coach of the Year Eddie Sutton, two-time NBA champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich and longtime FIBA executive Patrick Baumann.

There are some Chicago ties in here, too. Garnett famously spent a year of his high school career at Farragut Career Academy on the West Side of Chicago, receiving McDonald's All-American and national player of the year honors in 1995. Catchings won an IHSA Division AA state title as a freshman and Ms. Illinois Basketball as a sophomore in a stint at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire before embarking on her illustrious college and WNBA career.

And Tomjanovich, of course, coached the Houston Rockets teams that won the only two non-Bulls titles from 1991-1998 — teams that current Bulls coach Jim Boylen served as an assistant with

As of this writing, the Class of 2020 is set to be officially enshrined in Springfield, Mass., on Aug. 29.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.