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Wait, Otto Porter did what?

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Chicago Bulls Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

As you may have heard by now, Otto Porter scored a career-high 37 points on Wednesday against the Grizzlies. Chicago, as you might expect, is excited about how things are going.

Before we dig deeper into this, let’s get a few things out of the way.

  • Why can’t we talk about the Wizards currently on the team for crying out loud? We’ll have all week during the All-Star break to do that and we all know a discussion would break out about Porter in the comments either way, so we might as well have a focused space to do it.
  • You can’t take anything away from that game, the Bulls were playing the Grizzlies for crying out loud! Yep, and the Wizards were playing the Cavaliers when Bobby Portis went off for 30 in his Wizards debut. Context matters!
  • This still doesn’t change the fact the Wizards’ payroll would have been all out of whack next season if Porter was still on the team. They would have to rely on exceptions to fill out the roster beyond Wall, Beal, Porter, Howard and Brown for crying out loud! This is true.

So let’s talk about Porter’s performance now. When you look at the highlights, it’s not like he transformed into a different player. There are a couple of pull-up jumpers coming off screens that we didn’t see much in Washington, but everything else is standard Otto stuff.

Porter was outstanding on Wednesday, but he’s been on a tear since he joined the Bulls.

The thing to keep in mind is Porter’s four games have come against Nets, Wizards, Bucks, and Grizzlies and the last three were all at home, so there could be a sharp correction on the way once the schedule toughens up and teams get more tape on how Porter fits in with the Bulls, but it might be a while before we see it play out. Four of the Bulls’ next six games are against teams outside the playoff picture and the two that aren’t are both at home.

The challenge with Porter has always been figuring out how to get him to do what he does well as often as possible. Most of Washington’s best performances in recent years have come with Porter playing a big role, but when he can also go into sleep mode for long stretches. It will be fascinating to see if the Bulls can solve the mystery to keep that spark lit consistently. No one’s expecting him to drop 37 every night, but if he can be a more assertive version of himself in Chicago, it will change the narrative around the trade.