Did the Mavericks Make a Mistake by Not Drafting Bobby Portis?


The Mavericks had a great draft, but could it have been better by taking Bobby Portis?

It’s hard to argue with the Dallas Mavericks selecting Virginia’s Justin Anderson with the 21st pick in the first round of the NBA Draft, but did they make a mistake not taking Bobby Portis from the University of Arkansas?

Portis, an incredibly skilled offensive player who beat out some stiff competition for SEC Player of the Year in 2014-15, was taken just a pick after the Mavericks by the Chicago Bulls. They were ecstatic that Portis was still on the board, and though hadn’t planned on being able to select him, didn’t miss their chance when it rolled around. From Bleacher Report’s Sean Highkin:

I didn’t see Portis lasting as long as he did either, which is why The Smoking Cuban didn’t even bother constructing a draft profile on him. If we had, it would gone something like this:

At nearly 6’11”, 246-lbs with a long wingspan and great strength Bobby Portis has the physical tools to contribute right away at the pro level despite being only 20-years old. He’s a versatile offensive player possessing a nice set of post moves and counters, and can step outside and knock down jumpers at a high rate. According to DraftExpress, Portis shot almost 44% on shots from 17-feet to the three-point line. 

Portis moves very well for a player his size and has a great motor. He consistently beats defenses down the floor in transition and works relentlessly on the offensive glass. He averaged nearly 4 offensive boards in 2014-15. 

Portis lacks elite athleticism, which could hurt him at the next level around the rim, but he’s still able to be a good defender both down low and on the perimeter when switching in the pick-and-roll. His high energy helps him there. 

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect about Portis is is backstory – you can read more about it here. He grew up in poverty with an unstable home life – the type of upbringing that can be tough to overcome. But it helped mold him into the passionate, chip-on-my-shoulder type of player that never takes anything for granted and often works harder than anyone else. The Bulls drafted another one of those guys late in the first round not too long ago who has worked out pretty well – Jimmy Butler.

So did the Mavericks miss the boat? Like I said, Justin Anderson was a great pick and it’s hard to argue with taking him at #21. But Portis, as a stretch-4 with defensive ability and upside would have been a fantastic selection both for the present and the post-Dirk era. Don’t be surprised if he turns into a really good professional.

Next: Bismack Biyombo Worth a Look for Mavericks

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