The 2017 NBA Draft is 10 days away and the Portland Trail Blazers possess three first round picks (15, 20, 26), as you know if you’ve been following our draft profiles. Today we take a look at another prospect and how he could benefit the Blazers, continuing the series by analyzing Oregon power forward Jordan Bell.
- Height: 6’9”
- Weight: 227
- Wingspan: 6’11.75”
- Shoots: Right
- Position: PF
- Age: 22
- Projected draft range: 29-35
- PPG: 10.9 | Per 40: 15.2
- RPG: 8.8 | Per 40: 12.2
- APG: 1.8 | Per 40: 2.5
- BLK: 2.2 | Per 40: 3.1
- STL: 1.3 | Per 40: 1.7
There are high-motor players, then there are players who manage to surpass that label, Bell is a player that has proven he fits into the latter category. Having a presence on both ends of the court is a hallmark of Bell’s game, especially when it comes to altering shots around the rim on defense and finishing above the basket on offense. A limited number of players of his stature can run the floor in transition like he can, which is a trait that should immediately translate to fastbreak opportunities at the next level. That same speed will also help Bell on the defensive end, allowing him to cover perimeter-oriented players when needed. Along with his impressive athletic prowess, he has an innate ability for tracking the basketball. Bell should continue to be an above-average rebounder and a solid interior defender going forward.
Natural ability isn’t the issue for the former Oregon standout, but maintaining proper positioning was a persistent problem for him last season. Much of what made Bell a stellar help defender also made him a liability when it came to securing defensive rebounds. It was common for him to abandon his man while searching for blocks, which opened up space for his opponent to secure uncontested offensive rebounds. Outside of positioning, the defensive-oriented big man has obvious struggles on offense. Despite being a fairly proficient free throw shooter last season, connecting on 70.1 percent of his attempts, Bell was not able to consistently produce points from outside of the paint. His offensive problems are compounded by his underdeveloped back-to-the-basket game, allowing teams to treat him as a one-dimensional threat on the offensive end of the court.
Bell’s defensive acumen was not only crucial to Oregon’s run to the Final Four last season, but it also earned him the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award. Chris Boucher’s late-season injury put an immense amount of pressure on Bell’s shoulders heading into the NCAA Tournament. Luckily for the Ducks, their defensive stalwart was up to the task, as he recorded a double-double in all but one of the games that Boucher missed. Unfortunately for Bell, his season ended on a sour note, as a blown box out led to North Carolina’s game-securing offensive rebound in the final moments of Oregon’s exit from the tournament.
Despite having a limited offensive repertoire, Bell is a likely candidate to be groomed for a role as a small-ball five in the NBA, making him a hot commodity at a trendy position. Teams with serious contention on their minds will likely target his services, as they look to fill a specific need and supplement an already functioning roster. Even if Bell doesn’t blossom into a small-ball five, his rebounding ability should make him an effective reserve big man.
Portland’s defensive issues are well-documented, so adding a defense-first player in the late stages of the first round makes sense. The Blazers’ lack of depth behind Jusuf Nurkic coupled with their salary cap restraints makes Bell an intriguing option for President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey. The addition of a player like Bell would address Portland’s depth and defensive needs, but it would do very little to enhance the spacing for coach Terry Stotts’ offensive scheme.
Do you want Bell in a Trail Blazers jersey next season? Which player would you like us to analyze next? Tell us in the comments below.