With the NBA Draft quickly approaching, it’s the time of year where every franchise is like a kid on Christmas, waiting on the gift to enliven their soul. One of the most interesting players in this year’s draft is 7’2” center out of the University of Oregon, Bol Bol.
This article is going to examine whether Bol is the next Kevin Durant or the next Greg Oden.
The upside is arguably one of the best players in NBA history. His ability to shoot for a man his size is truly remarkable; he shot 52 percent from beyond the arc in college. On top of that, he is a bonafide rim protector; opponents will have to think twice before they throw up a shot in his direction. He averaged 2.7 blocks per game at Oregon.
His combination of size and speed makes him a threat on fast breaks and in the open court alike. His athletic attributes are second to none (with the exception of his physical strength). He has a skill-set that is congruent in the modern era with his ability to stretch the floor.
The thing that impressed me most about his game is his one dribble turn-around jumper. From 15-feet and in, my dude is a cheat code. At the college level this move proved to be absolutely unstoppable. This move will have the exact same impact in the NBA, plain and simple most players cannot guard a quick shot from a player his height.
Many NBA big men made a career off of 15-foot jumpers; Tim Duncan did alright for himself.
Furthermore, his ability to hit floaters, be taller than the space needle and make shots down low separates him from the pack. He truly has an amazing touch around the rim for any player, regardless of size.
He has a skill set comparable to former NBA great Hakeem Olajuwon. If he can even be half the player that Hakeem was, he will be a perennial all-star.
The first thing that is obvious about him is that he is skinny. He makes Durant look like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Needless to say, his lack of strength could be troublesome in the NBA. He will get bullied by physically tougher players like Marc Gasol, DeMarcus Cousins and really any player who uses their size to their advantage. If he gets dominated down low, this could negate his shot blocking.
Most players are big and fast in the league. Bol won’t be able to dominate on his athleticism alone the way he did in college and high school. He could end up frustrated, and if he can’t keep his cool, he will find himself a nice cushioned seat next to the ball boy.
Nevertheless, I believe that his biggest weakness in his lack of effort.
On nbadraft.net, they actually point to his lack of effort in his strengths … “Elevates with ease and has very good lateral speed when he applies himself.” This is a huge red flag.
At the college level he let players with limited physical abilities get where they wanted on the floor. On Tuesday’s SportsCenter, they showed a play where he let a back up big man from a mid-major school cut in front of his face, and then he compounded the play by not contesting the shot.
This is unacceptable at any level of basketball.
It is important to note that he hurt his foot at Oregon and only played in nine games. There is a long history of big men having limited careers due to foot problems; we will have to wait and see if his bunions hold up.
If his feet prove to be a problem, he has the potential to be the next Sam Bowie, one of the biggest draft busts of all time (sorry, Portland).
Everything: Bol is one of the most unique prospects to enter the NBA Draft in recent memory.
The upside is obvious; the downside is terrifying.
Bol almost has a mystique about him; he furthered this notion by rarely doing interviews in higg school. I find that his interviews could be a predictor to his future success.
It one case, it can be argued that he is “about that action boss.” He doesn’t like to talk to the media and just wants to play the game.
He is 7,2”, a son of a former NBA great in Manute Bol and a star basketball player in his own right. I mean, honestly: How many times would you like to answer, do doors get in your way? Blah blah blah etc.
Avoiding the spotlight is not an option for the kid, even if he never played the game, he would have stood out.
Contrarily, he could be a timid person.
He appears uncomfortable in interviews and shows it through his unconscious body behavior. He fidgets, gives short answers and is extremely soft spoken to the point of a whisper.
A rookie who has even a perceived chink in their armor will be exposed at the NBA level. There have been many players more hyped than him who have fizzled out of the league overnight.
Is he an example of stoic strength? Or an unconfident kid? These questions can only be answered on the court.
He has arguably the most upside of any player in the draft, even Zion Williamson. His attributes are found in few players throughout league history.
Team owners may consider risking a top-10 pick on him; he could change the trajectory of a franchise in a heartbeat. He could also get hurt and never play in a game.
Luckily for me, that’s a decision for the boys upstairs.