The Nuggets Might Have Found Their New Secret Weapon in Orlando.
After over four months without NBA basketball, the league finally returned with four scrimmages taking place in the Orlando bubble on Wednesday. One of the more notable performances came from Nuggets rookie Bol Bol, son of the late NBA player Manute Bol.
Despite being 7’2”, Bol started at small forward for the Nuggets in his debut, part of an unconventional starting lineup that featured an average player height of 6’10”.
The 20-year old scored 16 points on 14 shots and led all players in rebounds (10) & blocks (6). He flashed his freakish talent, including a sequence where he effortlessly pinned a block on the backboard, ran the floor, and knocked down a pull-up 3-pointer.
Bol’s strong debut came to the surprise of many and was so out of the blue that the NBA gave him a ‘random’ drug test. However, one quick look at Bol’s past stats and highlights will show that this outing was no accident at all.
In 2018-19, Bol played in just nine collegiate games at Oregon before going down with a foot injury but made the most of his opportunities. He averaged an impressive 21 points per game with 9.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game while connecting over half of his 3-point attempts. Bol could block shots like an elite rim protector on one end, while being able to handle the ball like a wing and score from anywhere on offense.
If it weren’t for injury concerns, Bol would’ve likely been a lottery pick. But he ended up sliding all the way to pick 44, where he was selected by the Miami Heat and subsequently traded to the Nuggets.
Bol’s injury risk is — and always will be — high. He’s only played in 10 games in two years, and there’s no telling how often he’ll be able to repeat this debut performance in the future.
Either way, Bol has the tools of a potential superstar. His combination of length (7’8” wingspan), athleticism, and skill make him a perfect prototypical big man in the modern NBA. Assuming he stays healthy, Bol will be a name to remember in the future. Shortly after his late selection in the draft, Bol said, “I just want to prove everyone wrong.” He still has a long way to go, but his stellar debut was the first step toward achieving that goal.