The primary takeaway from Bobby Portis' session with the Wizards media Monday is that the Arkansas power forward is as candid as he is tall.
For example, most NBA Draft prospects deny they pay attention to pre-draft rumors and buzz when it comes to where they might land. The 6-foot-10 Portis and reigning SEC Player of the Year freely copped to his expected range following a group workout with the Washington Wizards.
"Right now, eight to 20. Anywhere in there I’m in play," stated Portis, an inside-outside threat with range extending beyond the 3-point line.
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The Wizards, owners of the 19th overall pick, are in the market for big man with perimeter shooting skills, also known as a stretch-4. Portis didn't hesitate when asked if that's his role on the next level.
"Yessir. No doubt," said the polite and engaging 20-year-old outside the Verizon Center practice court. "The stretch 4 position is a position that has to do with some of everything. Dribbling, scoring. And scoring at the high post, shooting the three ball, posting up, so it does a lot of different things that brings value to a team. I feel like I can do that for whichever team that picks me. But I can’t pick the team. They have to pick me."
Based on Portis' assessment of his workout, not to mention the long-limbed forward's production with the Razorbacks, there is a good chance the Wizards would select him with their current pick if available. He averaged 17.5 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks during his sophomore season while shooting 46.7 % (14 of 30) on 3-point attempts. What he lacks in high-end athleticism and rim-protector skills he makes up for with passion and relentless energy.
"I showed them I can run, get up and down the court. Showed them my versatility, that I can put the ball on the floor and score in different ways and showed them I can also defend. I showed them a lot of different things today," the Little Rock native said.
"I’m not going to lie, today they kind of got me a little tired today. But I pushed through it and got my second wind and I feel like when I got my second wind I was ready to go."
On the go describes Portis' itinerary during the pre-draft process. The Wizards were his ninth workout. Two more stops - Milwaukee and Atlanta - are on deck. "It’s been a crazy ride," he said.
"I’ve been getting great feedback. I don’t feel like I’ve had a bad workout yet," the confident forward said without a trace of arrogance. "I feel like I’ve been playing at a high level. I’ve been playing with energy and effort and I’ve been giving it my all. ...I can’t pick where I want to go, I can’t do anything. But just one thing I can do, play as hard as I can and just show these guys that I’m ready for this next level."
Portis took his game up another level during the 2014-15 campaign, beating out numerous Kentucky standouts for SEC Player of the Year honors.
"My freshman year I came in with a lot of hype and people wanted a lot out of me so I was kind of dummying it down to the freshman role a little bit but came back this year a lot stronger and I came back just ready to go," the 246-pounder said. "So I feel like when I get into the league, there’s going to be things that I will obviously have to adjust to but that’s just basketball.
"Everything isn’t peaches and cream. It’s not going to be gold from Day 1. I have to just come in and progress throughout my career and try to be the best Bobby Portis I can possibly be."
The NBA invited Bobby Portis to Brooklyn for the June 25 draft. Bobby Portis plans on attending. "All kids dream about being there and want to shake the commissioner’s hand and put the hat on and smile at the cameras so that’s something I want to do too."
As for the all important fashion game, the decision is down to two options. This is where the straight shooter turned coy.
"I ain’t going to tell y'all. Then you start leaking it," Portis joked. "But I’m going to be a bit spiffy."