What should New York Knicks fans know about Bobby Portis?
Portis, age 24, is a 6-foot-11 power forward, drafted 22nd overall by the Chicago Bulls in the 2015 NBA draft. He played with Chicago for the first three years of his rookie contract, before being transferred to the Washington Wizards before the 2019 trade deadline. Despite the deal’s timing, in 50 games with the Bulls and the Wizards, he averaged 14 points, 8 rebounds, shooting 40 percent from three-point range and 81 percent from the line.
Portis wanted to come to New York. He spoke with several teams in the first days of free agency and the atmosphere “was a little hectic for Portis.” In an interview with Basketball Insiders, he said:
"It was crazy, every day hearing the different teams that were interested in me, really not knowing what’s going to happen. Luckily on the first day of free agency, I was able to pick where I wanted to go and it was a blessing. It was just kind of crazy leading up to it though, hearing from different teams and just not knowing. But I’m blessed."
In that same interview, Portis told David Yapkowitz that David Fizdale was his reason for signing with New York:
"Just the feel, they have a great coach in David Fizdale, they got a lot of young pieces out there I think I can come in and fit with. I love that they signed Julius [Randle], that’s another guy that can bang and really play at a high level. I love everything David was talking about with me in the meeting that I had with him."
Portis wears an “Underdog” silver chain around his neck and “totally embraced” his underdog-ness. In an interview with SLAM, he confirmed this when asked if he liked being an underdog:
"“Hell yeah, absolutely man. When you fall in love with your craft, fall in love with what you do, you embrace who you are and you embrace everything that comes with it.”"
This mentality is just what the Knicks need. Underdogs and guys with chips on their shoulders, looking for redemption in a league that has either written them off or labeled them as less than second class players. Portis is neither and although Knicks’ fans are upset not to have gotten any of the K’s (Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, etc.) in free agency, they have a squad of young players and vets who want to make it in New York.
"If I could look ahead a little bit, I could see myself being an All-Star one day. That’s my goal. I want to be an All-Star. If you asked a thousand people, I bet you most of them would say I’m crazy to say that. But that’s that underdog mentality that you have to have. I know that when I step out there, there’s a lot of people that doubt me. You know, I love being doubted."
It’s time for New York Knicks Nation to embrace their “underdogs.” Bobby Portis, welcome to the Big Apple.