LITTLE ROCK — Former Arkansas star Bobby Portis has been one of the most productive reserves in the NBA in 2020-21, and after moving into the starting lineup last week due to an injury to two-time defending league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, the 6-year veteran from Little Rock registered four consecutive double-doubles for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Portis (6-10 forward / center) started in 3 of Milwaukee’s 4 games last week (the Bucks went 1-3) and averaged 15.5 points (46.7% from 3), 12.5 rebounds, and 1.0 assist in 28.8 minutes per game while earning his 7th Pro Hoop Hogs Player of the Week honor this season. His 20-point and 14-rebound effort in a 116-101 loss at Dallas on Thursday established his season high in rebounding. The Bucks have the third-best record in the Eastern Conference at 33-20.
Portis is ranked 61st in the NBA with a Player Efficiency Rating of 16.83. He’s played in all 49 games (with 5 starts) and is the Bucks’ fourth leading scorer and second leading rebounder, averaging 11.4 points, 7.3 rebounds (ranks 31st in the NBA), and 1.1 assists in 21.5 minutes per contest while shooting 52.7% from the field, including 47.1% from 3 (ranks 5th in the NBA), and 73.9% from the free throw line. His per-36-minute numbers are 19.1 points, 12.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.3 steals. Portis entered this week with eight double-doubles in ’20-21, he’s scored in double figures in 30 games (including six games of 20 or more points), and he’s rebounded in double figures in 10 games.
Linked below are highlights from Portis’ 16-point, 10-rebound game in a 124-87 road win over the Orlando Magic on Sunday …
* Former Arkansas star Daniel Gafford (6-10 forward / center, El Dorado native) came back after missing six games with an ankle injury to contribute 9 points (4-of-6 field goals and 1-of-2 free throws), 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, and 1 assist in 17 minutes off the bench in Washington’s 134-106 road loss against the Phoenix Suns. Since being traded from Chicago to Washington several weeks ago, Gafford has appeared in three games with the Wizards to average 11.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, and 1.0 assist in 15.3 minutes since joining the team. Gafford, recipient of three PHH POW honors following week two of the ’20-21 season, has a Player Efficiency Rating of 20.33. Gafford has scored in double figures six times in ’20-21, and he grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds just prior to being traded by the Bulls. Gafford is averaging 5.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in 12.6 minutes per game while shooting 69.8% from the field and 66.7% from the free throw line. His per-36-minute numbers are 15.1 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 3.4 blocks. The Wizards are 20-32 overall, and 2-1 with Gafford in the lineup.
* Former Arkansas star Isaiah Joe (6-4 shooting guard, Fort Smith native) played twice last week, going a combined 0-of-3 shooting from 3 with 2 rebounds and 1 steal in a collective 10 minutes in the Philadelphia 76ers’ games against New Orleans (101-94 loss) and Oklahoma City (117-93 win). Joe has a Player Efficiency Rating of 9.09. His heaviest game action and best production came in January when in a consecutive-5-game stretch he started once and scored in double figures four times (including a career-high 18 points against Atlanta) while averaging 12.4 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 29.0 minutes per game as he shot 40.8% from the field, including 17-of-39 from 3 for 43.6%, and made 5-of-5 free throws. During the NBA all star break earlier in March, Joe excelled in the three-game G-League playoffs in Orlando, Fla., as he averaged 23.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.3 steals, 43.8% field goal shooting (including 39.3% from 3), and 87.5% free throw shooting while leading the Delaware Blue Coats to the G-League title game. On the season in the NBA, Joe has played in 28 games for Philadelphia (37-17 for the best record in the Eastern Conference) and is averaging 3.5 points and 1.0 rebound in 10.1 minutes per game while shooting 34.0% from the field, including 33.8% from 3, and 88.9% from the free throw line. His per-36-minute numbers are 12.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.0 steal. Joe’s 8 steals are more than his 6 turnovers this season. Joe has won the PHH POW honor three times so far in ’20-21.
* Former Arkansas star Mason Jones (6-4 combo guard) played twice last week, going a combined 1-of-2 shooting from the field (including 1-of-1 from 3) for 3 points with 1 rebound in a collective 5 minutes in the Philadelphia 76ers’ games against New Orleans (101-94 loss) and Oklahoma City (117-93 win). Jones has a Player Efficiency Rating of 12.30, and he’s averaging 5.6 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 11.1 minutes per game while shooting 42.9% from the field, including 36.9% from 3, and 61.4% from the free throw line. Jones’ per-36-minute numbers are 18.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 4.6 assists. In 26 games with Houston, Jones scored in double figures five times, including a career-high 24 points against San Antonio in January. Jones has won the PHH POW honor once this season. Jones signed an undrafted free agent two-way contract with Houston in November, then the Rockets waived him in March before signing him to one 10-day contract followed by the Sixers signing him to a two-way deal.
* Former Arkansas star Patrick Beverley (6-1 guard) is out 3-4 weeks after suffering a hand injury that required surgery, and combined with a knee injury he played only twice in the last month. Both of those outings came last week — in wins over Portland and Phoenix — as Beverley combined for 8 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 block in a collective 37 minutes. A two-time winner of the PHH POW honor, Beverley has started in all 31 games that he’s played in while having sat out 24 games for the Clippers (37-18 for the third-best record in the Western Conference). The three-time NBA All Defensive team honoree has a Player Efficiency Rating of 11.22. Beverley has season highs of 20 points (against San Antonio), 9 rebounds (against Phoenix), 8 assists (against San Antonio), 3 steals (against Oklahoma City), and 3 blocks (against Chicago). He’s averaging 8.0 points. 3.6 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in 23.4 minutes per game while shooting 43.2% from the field, including 41.6% from 3, and 80.5% from the free throw line. Beverley’s per-36-minute numbers are 12.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.2 blocks.