CHICAGO - Just like last year, it took a little while to free Bobby Portis.
But, now it appears he's carved out a spot in the Bulls starting lineup for the time being.
"At the end of the day, I want to play basketball," said Portis. "That's my job. I'm going to go out there and do the things that I do well. I feel like sometimes people misconstrue just because you don't play. They can judge you and things like that. I don't really care about anybody judging me at this point. At the end of the day, I'm still going to be Bobby Portis."
Both his minutes and production have increased in the past five games.
During that stretch, Portis has averaged 11 points and 5 rebounds.
It's a welcomed change for the Bulls former first round pick, who says he never really received any clarity about why he wasn't getting on the floor.
"No, I didn't really know what I could do to get minutes," Portis remarked. "The one thing I know that I can always do is come in here everyday, work as hard as I can and let the dominoes fall how they fall. Everyday I come in here and bust my butt just to get minutes, but sometimes it wouldn't work. I always kept faith in God and knew it would eventually come around, even having to go to the D-League. I felt like it helped with me having to go down there just to get some confidence."
When asked if it was confusing?
"A lot. I didn't understand why I had to go down. But, at the same time, I knew it was all for a reason."
"I've tried to communicate with him and let him know the things that he needed to continue to do, which is work which Bobby always does," noted head coach Fred Hoiberg. "We just had four guys out there. It's hard to play five bigs. It really is. He's continued to work in practice and that's why we put him back in the lineup. We felt he would give us a chance to win games and he did that. I thought he had a very positive impact when he was put back in the lineup. Now that he's starting and going to continue to get those consistent minutes, the big thing I told him is be who you are. Be what's made you who you are your entire life. That's go out and play with passion, go out and throw his body around and hit people. Knowing Bobby, he's going to continue to do that."