Bulls Go Big, Draft PF Bobby Portis

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jun 26, 2015 3:45PM

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Bobby Portis meets Commissioner Adam Silver after being selected 22nd overall by the Chicago Bulls in the First Round of the 2015 NBA Draft. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Remember when we said the Bulls were expected to focus on drafting a point guard to back up Derrick Rose? GM Gar Forman and the rest of the front office threw fans a curveball Thursday night, drafting power forward Bobby Portis with the 22nd pick in the first round.

Portis, who played for University of Arkansas, was named Southeastern Conference Player of the Year as a sophomore, averaging 17.5 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. Many NBA experts projected Portis to be a possible lottery pick, going in the low to mid-teens. Which helps explain why, when he remained on the board at 22, that Forman went big.

"As you guys know, when we prepare for the draft, we're going to draft the best player available," Forman said Thursday. "We had him ranked as a late lottery pick going into the night. As we saw him start to slip, we got excited about him."

With Portis still available when the Bulls were on the clock, the decision was supposedly unanimous in the team's draft war room. His style of game and temperament fit well with the Bulls mold, even if his position wasn't the team's top priority entering the night.

While many of the point guards thought to be on the Bulls wish list—Emmanuel Mudiay, Jerian Grant, Terry Rozier—had already been picked, Duke's Tyus Jones remained available.

With the selection of big man Portis, there's renewed discussion about whether the Bulls might try to trade one of their veterans. But the two mentioned recently—Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah— are both damaged good while recovering from surgeries. And while new coach Fred Hoiberg may have a different plan than Tom Thibodeau, rookies haven't tended to play much in the Bulls system in recent years. We suspect that Nazr Mohammed may be the odd man out.

Meanwhile, the Bulls must now seek out a new Derrick Rose back-up on the free agent market. Can Forman pull yet another rabbit out of his hat?