Milwaukee Bucks: Revisiting Bobby Portis’ noble 2020-21 goals

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 22 (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 22 (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Bobby Portis, Miami Heat: Bam Adebayo
MIAMI, FLORIDA – DECEMBER 30 (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Revisiting Bobby Portis’ 2020-21 goals with the Milwaukee Bucks: No. 2 – Hold up defensively

One of the biggest concerns with Portis and his fit with the Bucks was his ability to defend at a high level, something this team preaches. Before signing with Milwaukee, there had been a notion surrounding Portis that he was a liability on that end of the floor. That black cloud hanging over him was something that the 26-year-old wanted to erase during his first year with the Bucks.

While it was not perfect, Portis did seem more comfortable defensively as the year went on. With head coach Mike Budenholzer experimenting with his schemes throughout the season, there were some growing pains, but that was expected. One area that helped Portis get more accustomed to his strengths defensively was when the Bucks started switching more frequently, which had been something they previously avoided. Portis was more mobile than starting center Brook Lopez, so he often found himself in the lineup for certain situations like those.

There were times throughout the postseason where the big man’s defense hindered his playing time. Of course, Portis sat the final three games versus the Brooklyn Nets in the East Semifinals due to being targeted and got off to a rocky start in the NBA Finals against the Phoenix Suns as Chris Paul and Devin Booker hunted him consistently. He was far from perfect, but he managed to hold up just enough to help the Bucks get the job done.

The goal was for Portis to hold up defensively, not develop into an elite defender. Ultimately, that is exactly what he did. While he could still stand to improve on that side of the ball, he was solid enough during last season to help the team win it all. Perhaps that will be something for him to build upon moving forward.