It hasn’t been a season full of bright spots for the Chicago Bulls. The Eastern Conference’s 13th-seeded team at the moment, head coach Jim Boylen has struggled to lead Chicago to wins, but has created an energized, young group of core players. Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine and Otto Porter Jr. provide hope for the future.
Speaking of Porter Jr., let’s talk about the 25-year-old swingman out of Georgetown University. The former Hoya increased his PPG, APG, field goal attempts and three-point percentage each year from seasons 1-5 as a member of the Washington Wizards. Seemingly plateauing after that point in time, Porter Jr. was averaging 12.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game on shooting splits of .457/.369/.766 through 41 games this season. All of that changed when Porter Jr. was traded from D.C. on February 7.
Joining the aforementioned duo of LaVine and Markkanen in ‘Chi Town,’ Porter has elevated nearly every aspect of his game. Raising his scoring and assists averages to 18.3 and 3.1 respectively with the Bulls, Porter has taken on an increased role on offense. Averaging a career-high 13.9 field goal attempts, Porter has been knocking down threes at an insane 49.2 percent clip. That’s a far cry from his career mark of 40.4% but nonetheless, the confidence is certainly there.
In games in which Porter Jr. has played this season for the Bulls, the team is 7-5. Although that doesn’t jump off the page, an above .500 record is a tremendous difference from Chicago’s current winning percentage of .279. Markkanen has played some amazing basketball as of late, but Porter Jr. has been a very solid supporting piece.
Possessing a $28 million player option for the 2020-21 season, Porter Jr. will almost surely remain a Bull for the next two years. Markkanen will likely be the same. LaVine will follow suit, as he’s under contract through the 2021-22 campaign. Oh yeah, throw current rookie Wendell Carter Jr. into the mix as well. Like I said, the future is bright in Chicago. Keep an eye on this team over the next couple years.