With Nikola Mirotic's return imminent, Bobby Portis' play demands a role

K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Basketball

After he returned from his eight-game suspension for punching Nikola Mirotic in the face, Bobby Portis repeatedly equated sitting out to having his dream taken from him.

The third-year forward is playing like he's trying to make up for lost time.

Portis is averaging 12 points, five more than his previous best. His seven rebounds per game are 1.6 more than his previous best. And his 1.8 assists per game, 79.3 percent free-throw shooting and 34.9 percent 3-point shooting also are well past previous bests.

"I feel I've been playing well," Portis said. "I've been rebounding well, playing defense better than I have before. I'm taking great shots, so I'm not forcing anything on the offensive end. Trying to be a great player."

With rookie Lauri Markkanen locked in as the starting power forward and Mirotic nearing his season debut, Portis' play has assured him a rotational role. Both Portis and Mirotic have made clear they'll remain professional, but the players have no plans for a substantial sitdown regarding the Oct. 17 incident.


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