Otto Porter Jr. is giving the Warriors what the Bulls always needed

Otto Porter Jr., Chicago Bulls (Photo by Kavin Mistry/Getty Images)
Otto Porter Jr., Chicago Bulls (Photo by Kavin Mistry/Getty Images) /

As a former third overall pick and the prize of a trade that sent Bobby Portis to Washington, fans were always going to have high expectations for Otto Porter Jr. in the Windy City. However, those same fans wouldn’t get much more than a glimpse as Porter Jr. would only manage to play in 54 total games during his three years spent with the Chicago Bulls.

This is a decision the Bulls are still paying for today, as the team still owes the Wizards their 2023 second-round pick from the trade. Even worse, Portis has gone on to become a very solid player in Milwaukee — arguably better than even Porter Jr. himself — as a crucial piece of their championship roster.

Ironically, OPJ has already played in more games and logged more minutes in one season with Golden State than he did in three years with the Bulls. In a reserve role, his box score stats have dipped slightly, but the advanced metrics indicate he’s playing the best basketball he has in years.

This season, Porter’s performance helped him reach the highest true shooting percentage, box plus/minus, and value over replacement player he’s had since his days as a Wizard back in 2018. He’s been a crucial piece for the Warriors during these playoffs as the team prepares for the NBA Finals. In the 13 games OPJ has played during the postseason, the Warriors have outscored their opponents by 91 points with Porter on the court.

Although his time with the Bulls was mired by injuries, Otto Porter Jr. has redeemed himself during Golden State’s NBA Finals run

Given the fact Porter Jr.’s career has already spanned nearly a decade, it’s easy to forget he still has youth on his side. In fact, he’s set to turn 29 years old on June 3, just one year and nine months older than Bulls star Zach LaVine. Signing a one-year, $2.4 million deal with Golden State has helped Porter Jr. recoup much of his value on the open market, and a player of his skill should have another sizable contract lined up this summer.

However, with the Warriors once again diving deep into the luxury tax and likely facing a big Jordan Poole extension, it’s highly unlikely they’ll look to re-sign OtPJ past this year. I doubt his mind is solely on an upcoming payday, however, as this postseason has presented Porter Jr. with the first, and perhaps only, genuine chance he has to become an NBA champion.

The Bulls were obviously never in a position to put a championship-contending roster around OPJ while he was in Chicago, but it’s still hard not to think about the impact he could have had with this team had he gotten here a little later. His shooting stroke and veteran experience would have been invaluable with this growing roster.

But most of all, if he was still around I would still get to tell myself the Bulls didn’t give up Portis for nothing. Either way, both Portis and Porter could be NBA champions very soon. It’s just unfortunate they won’t be doing so with the Bulls.

Next. 3 draft prospects the Bulls should trade up for. dark