Arkansas’ Portis could help fill void if Monroe bolts

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Throughout the predraft process, much of the Pistons’ focus has rightfully been directed toward a slew of lanky small forwards capable of filling a void that’s been more or less left vacant since Tayshaun Prince was dealt in 2013. But with power forward Greg Monroe quite possibly on his way out the door this summer, the Pistons are covering all their bases when it comes to selection possibilities on draft day.

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That’s where six-foot-eleven Bobby Portis comes in. The 20-year-old SEC Player of the Year was in town Saturday afternoon to work out for the Pistons among the likes of fellow big man Kevon Looney and former UDM star Juwan Howard Jr. While he’s currently projected as a mid-first round pick (the Pistons are slotted at the eight spot), Portis believes he could slide right in with Detroit.

“I’d fit in well, you know,” Portis told reporters. “Something like Greg Monroe did, stretch the floor, shoot the ball. I could do some of the similar things he does.”

Portis averaged 17.5 points and 8.9 rebounds in his sophomore year with Arkansas during the 2014-15 season. He’s developed a reputation as a high-energy performer with a gift for cleaning the offensive glass. And while his post repertoire and offensive talent pales in comparison to even a collegiate version of Monroe, Portis does own a solid jump hook and a more-than-reliable slingshot jumper that extends 17 feet and beyond. 

With a max vertical of 31.5 inches, Portis registers as a solid but not great athlete, though he appears more explosive than Monroe (the latter of whom compensated with a wide range of pivots and post moves). Still, Portis’ lack of outright explosion has raised questions regarding his long term defensive potential and ability to repeatedly finish at the rim over more athletically gifted opponents. 

Considering Portis’ current projected draft position (DraftExpress currently has him going to 17th to the Bucks), utilizing a top ten pick on his rights may be a stretch. That said, the Pistons have been rumored to be shopping the eighth pick and if the right deal presents itself, a slide deeper into the first round may turn Portis into a more feasible option. 

With former Pistons Sixth Man of the Year and ex-Razorback Corliss Williamson serving as Portis’ AAU coach and mentor through high school, the big man already finds himself in favor of the Pistons organization.

“I’m real familiar with them,” Portis said after his workout for the Pistons. “I’ve seen them play a lot with the Bad Boys and all that.

“Hopefully they’ll want me, because I can’t pick where I want to go this go-around. They have to pick me, but in four or five years I can pick this organization and come back if I want to. It’s pretty good to see the business side of it and see some of their faces.”

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Posted by Ryan Van Dusen
Ryan is a Farmington native who enjoys all things basketball, particularly when it involves the Detroit Pistons. He spends much of his free time combing through NBA archives and curating footage of meaningless late-90's regular season performances for mass consumption.