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Bobby Portis to start for the first time for Wizards

Bobby Portis, Jazz, Wizards

Bobby Portis’ impact on the Washington Wizards is already paying off in a big way. Barely more than two weeks after being traded to his new team from the Chicago Bulls, Portis is starting at center for the Wizards on Saturday, replacing Thomas Bryant.

Portis was sent to Washington on February 6th along with Jabari Parker in a deal that netted the wing-needy Bulls Otto Porter, Jr. He made history in his debut with the Wizards, becoming the first player ever to come off the bench and score 30 points during his first game with a new team. The fourth-year pro made a positive impact over the next four games while coming off the bench, too, including in a 24-point outing against the Detroit Pistons. He’s averaging 17.6 rebounds, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.6 steals in five games with Washington, shooting over 50 percent from both the field and beyond the arc.

Replacing him with Bryant in the Wizards’ starting five should provide Scott Brooks’ team with some additional juice offensively. Alongside Tomas Satoransky, Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza, and Jeff Green, Portis will have ample opportunity to launch catch-and-shoot threes and attack size mismatches on the block. Washington will miss Bryant, enjoying a breakout season after living on the league’s fringes since being drafted in 2017, as a pick-and-roll dive man and interior finisher, and certainly on the defensive glass, where Portis really struggles.

But Bryant wasn’t doing much to improve the Wizards’ leaky defense anyway, and putting Portis at center provides them with a better, if still lackluster, option to switch onto opposing ball handlers. Will Brooks’ change result in good thing for his team? We’ll find out when Washington tips off against the Indiana Pacers at 7:00 p.m. EST.