Bobby Portis’ recent slump isn’t a concern for the Milwaukee Bucks

Mar 22, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 22, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

There can be a tendency to see a player struggling or playing really well and overreact to that. It’s part of what being a fan is and that can be fun (or not fun if they’re struggling). After being on an absolute heater coming out of the break for the Milwaukee Bucks, Bobby Portis is on the comedown from that heater and it is a steep drop-off.

Portis kicked off the stretch run with a 30-point game where he hit a season-high eight 3s. That led to him shooting 49 percent from deep on seven attempts per game and averaged 18.1 points in that stretch of seven games.

He hit that western road trip, cooled right off, and has yet to find his stroke since then. In seven games he is shooting an ugly 14.3 percent from 3 and has only connected on a total of three 3s in those games. It’s real bad, but I’m not worried.

Why there’s no reason to be concerned about Bobby Portis’ shooting slump

First of all, this is definitely Portis’ worst shooting stretch of the season. He had a nine-game segment of the season where he shot 25.6 percent from 3 on around four attempts per game, but that doesn’t compare to what we’re seeing right now.

In that stretch, he at least hit a 3 in each game and made 10 total. Before this seven-game rough patch, Portis had never gone back-to-back games without making a triple. Well, he went three straight without a 3-point make from March 16th to the 22nd as he went 0-for-7 from behind the arc.

That all sounds really, really bad, right? You certainly wouldn’t be wrong, it’s less than ideal.

It’s nothing more than a shoulder shrug from me, though.

The Milwaukee Bucks do need Portis’ shooting as it’s a huge asset playing alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo. Teams need to stretch one of their bigs out to defend Portis because he has become a knockdown shooter.

His offense, when he gets back on track, is a big reason why it was a good idea that he went back to the bench when Brook Lopez returns.

Yeah, he’s missed a bunch of 3s lately but there are reasons for optimism! Don’t get down on him yet!

First, he’s shooting 2-of-19 on open-to-wide open 3s (so any shot where the closest defender is at least four feet away), which just won’t happen. In 51 games before the break, Portis shot 40 percent on 213 shots in that open or wide open designation.

They’re still generating great looks for him and he’s simply not converting. His past performance suggests that won’t continue for much longer.

Another subtle reason may be that he’s still adjusting to his role coming off the bench. He started in the first four games of his slump but then has flip-flopped between starting and coming off the bench the last few games.

Portis spoke about how the transition wasn’t going to be hard for him but there’s really no way to know that after he started 57 of 58 games before being told he’s going back to the bench. Playing in units with George Hill, Jevon Carter, and Serge Ibaka isn’t something he’s used to as much this season, and finding his chemistry with them will be key.

We’ve seen Portis be successful as a reserve player so it’s not going to take much time for him to get back on track.

He’s also still doing other productive things to make him a very valuable player for the Bucks. He’s still coming down with rebounds, being aggressive to find his shot, and still bringing energy.

This happens to all shooters too. We’ve seen Grayson Allen, Pat Connaughton, and Khris Middleton all struggle with their shot this season for a stretch before turning it back on. Heck, we saw it with Portis this very season!

There’s no reason to be discouraged by Portis’ recent stretch even after having arguably his worst game of the season against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Next. Bobby Portis remains the ultimate professional for the Milwaukee Bucks. dark

Don’t be surprised when Portis turns it on sooner rather than later as we head into the final eight games of the season and going into the playoffs.