NEW YORK — It’s hard to know if Otto Porter was telling the truth Friday night.
The newest Bull was asked if stories of player mutiny and practices involving suicide sprints reached Washington about two months ago, and with a straight face, he responded: “To be honest, I had no idea.’’
On one hand, NBA players talk, and the idea that Porter didn’t hear of the dysfunction that overcame the Bulls when Jim Boylen was first hired seems almost impossible.
On the other hand, Porter was coming from a Wizards organization that has had its share of dysfunction, so maybe the small forward was being honest.
What wasn’t debatable in his debut with the Bulls? His ability to make a difference.
Thanks to 18 points on 7-for-9 shooting (4-for-5 from three-point range) and strong defense, Porter helped the Bulls beat the Nets 125-106 at the Barclays Center.
Good for Porter, but bad for the Bulls’ lottery position, as the win improved the Bulls to 13-42, the fourth-worst record in the league.
Porter didn’t seem very concerned with all the tanking talk, especially while he was trying to make sure his boxes make it from his Washington home to Chicago in the next few days.
“Thoughts? It just happened so fast,’’ Porter said. “Kind of shocked, but that’s the business part of it. Ready to move forward.
“That was the only place I’d ever been. [The Wizards] drafted me, so obviously being in D.C. where I went to college [Georgetown], obviously I felt kind of sad leaving my hometown. It felt like my second home, so to leave and start fresh is a positive opportunity for me.’’
The Bulls acquired Porter for Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis on Wednesday. Porter instantly fills a need as a starting small forward with outside shooting and a knack for playing hard-nosed defense.
By the way, Portis scored 30 points in his debut for the Wizards, while Parker was one assist and three points shy of registering a triple-double. Both return to the United Center on Saturday night.
All the Bulls cared about, however, was Porter giving them another threat in the lineup and some leadership in the locker room.
“I hope to bring my talent, my versatility, a little bit of a veteran with it being my sixth year,’’ Porter said. “I know we got a lot of young guys on this team, so just to bring my knowledge and my attitude for winning to this team.
“I know they’ve got amazing guys here, so to bring my knowledge from being around a lot of veteran guys, it helped me so I just want to pass it on to the guys.’’
For one game at least, his new teammates did feed off Porter.
Lauri Markkanen finished with 31 points, 18 rebounds and two blocks. He even finished the game at center.
“He’s great,’’ Markkanen said. “With no practice and no shootaround, he played great. I’m glad we have him.
“We had good scorers before the trade, but Otto is a really good three-point shooter and he can guard, too.’’
Which seemed to make everyone’s night easier.
“We just kind of played together,’’ coach Jim Boylen said. “I felt like we looked like a team out there, and played like a team. He picks up things quickly and to me that’s what a pro is.’’