As the NBA returned on July 22 with a host of scrimmage games, 20-year-old Bol Bol of the Denver Nuggets stole the show. As the Nuggets placed 3 centers in their starting lineup, which was one of the tallest starting lineups in history.
Bol Bol is yet to play an NBA game for the Nuggets but scored an impressive 16 points on 6-14 shooting, including 2 3-pointers, against the Washington Wizards. In addition, Bol had 10 rebounds, 1 assist, and 6 blocks.
It was a performance that has caught widespread attention. Especially as it featured a slick play that included Bol grabbing a rebound, pushing the ball up the court, and draining a transition 3. All done on the 7-foot-2 centers own accord.
Bol is on a two-way contract with the Nuggets, and has spent part of the season in the G League with the Windy City Bulls. Windy City are associated with the Chicago Bulls, but the Nuggets do not have a G League affiliate team.
The towering center spent 8 games in the NBA’s official minor league, between November 15 and December 14. In that time, he posted averages of 12 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks, in just 19.2 minutes per game. He shot at a 57.7% rate from the field and converted 36.4% from downtown, on 1.4 attempts per contest.
On December 8, Bol dropped a career-high 21 points (72.7% FG) and 5 blocks, in a 118-83 win over the Santa Cruz Warriors. He shot 3-5 from beyond the arc and picked up 6 rebounds.
Since Bol has been with the Denver Nuggets where he has been listed out due to “injury management” for his surgically repaired left foot. Now, it appears that the 20-year-old could receive his chance to shine on an NBA court.
Standing at 7-foot-2 with a 7-foot-9 wingspan and a 9-foot-6 standing reach, Bol’s domination in the paint comes naturally. Whether it be through his smooth offensive touches, his commanding rebounds, or his thunderous blocks.
But it’s his outside game and mobility that’s so impressive. He has control over his huge frame with nifty lateral movement, which allows him to cover a lot of ground and shrink the floor with ease. He has a strong mid-range game, on the move and off-the-dribble. With shots between 16-24 feet with the Windy City Bulls this past season, Bol converted at a 71.4% rate.
This extends beyond the 3-point line too, gifting his team the opportunity to stretch the floor. He doesn’t shoot too often from 3, but that part of his skill-set is definitely present. In-fact, in college with the Oregon Ducks, Bol shot 52% from range, on 2.8 attempts.
He didn’t show it in the G League, but at the collegiate level, Bol showcased an ability to create for others. His sheer height allows him to see over defenses and distribute. This, coupled with the capability to knock down free-throws. Unlike many big men out there.
In the G League, he did actually shoot 100% from the charity stripe. However, this was a small sample size, with just 0.8 attempts per game. In college, Bol shot 75.7% on 4.1 attempts per game. Albeit in just 9 games, this highlights his ability to knock down his free-throws.
Bol Bol’s ceiling his sky-high, there’s no doubt about it. But injuries have hampered his basketball career to date, both in college and the professional ranks. Once he is able to play on a consistent basis, his true potential will shine through. At the moment, it’s been through a small sample size of games here and there.
Normally, players at 7-foot plus are limited to being runners and rim protectors. Bol actually possesses an incredibly high natural skill-set that could legitimately make him a 7-foot-2 “3 and D” player.
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