Otto Porter Jr. is making a smooth transition from D.C. trade piece to Bulls vet
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The education of Otto Porter Jr. continued Tuesday. And it’s as low maintenance and hands-off as a team could ask of a player who has been on the roster for less than a week.
“I think he is [learning quickly],’’ Bulls coach Jim Boylen said. “Sometimes you get a new guy or you add a person and maybe you sense some fear that they’re overloaded in their mind or they’re overwhelmed. I haven’t felt that from him at all. He just takes it as it comes. He understands what we’re doing. He’s able to translate our terminology into an existing concept that he understands that maybe was different terminology, which is what a good pro does. And he’s a good pro.
“You’ve seen what we’ve done with him. We’ve moved him around. He’s played three. He’s played four. He played a little five [Monday] night. So his versatility is maybe his greatest attribute. Well, his greatest attribute’s his demeanor and his spirit, and then his versatility is right up there, too.’’
Add consistency that list, as well.
Since being acquired from the Wizards last week for Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis, Porter has played in three games and had his first practice Tuesday.
In those three games, he had 18 points in the win over the Nets, 17 in the loss to the Wizards and 18 in the loss to the Bucks.
“I’m starting to understand the offense here,’’ Porter said. “Going inside out, we have a lot of versatile guys that can play multiple positions, and just to learn a majority of the plays at two different positions.
“My game is very versatile. I can fit in any offense. I feel like I’m capable of creating or scoring in any type of way.’’
That’s also why Boylen was putting the ball in Porter’s hands a bit more the last two games. He allowed him to make plays.
“I like the ball in his hands,’’ Boylen said. “I think the more receivers and creators you can have on your team, that combination of player, the better off we are. And he adds to that number of guys.’’
Porter also has made an immediate impact on defense. Though the Bulls are still leaking on a nightly basis, Boylen at least is seeing a 6-8 wing capable of defending the opposition’s best wing while understanding the importance of communication on that end.
“Everyone has a different style of leadership,’’ Boylen said. “His approach already is respected. His spirit is acknowledged. He’s got a brightness about him and a care factor. When you have a guy in his second film session repeating what the coach is saying, how we’re going to do stuff — and we ask questions during our film session — and he’s the guy answering already, it’s powerful.’’
Porter sees it as just a natural progression.
When the Wizards drafted him out of Georgetown in 2013, Porter joined a team with experienced veterans. Now he’s the one sharing his experiences.
“Just the way during games to settle the team down,’’ Porter said. “A team may go on a run, and I’m just telling the team, ‘Hey, teams make runs, we can’t get our heads down, we’ve got to focus on the next play.’ That’s just little things I try to influence our team with, keep ourselves comfortable.’’