The Trail Blazers’ memorable postseason run might be over, but the the 2019 NBA Draft is right around the corner. Portland’s President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey currently has the No. 25 pick in the draft at his disposal and he will look to supplement the Blazers’ roster with a talented prospect in the latter stages of the first round. Today we look at Oregon Ducks big man Bol Bol.
Bol Bol - Oregon
- Height: 7’2”
- Weight: 208
- Wingspan: 7’7”
- Shoots: Right
- Position: C
- Age: 19
- Projected Draft Range: 8-26
- PTS: 21.0 | Per 40: 28.2
- REB: 9.6 | Per 40: 12.8
- AST: 1.0 | Per 40: 1.3
- STL: 0.8 | Per 40: 1.0
- BLK: 2.7 | Per 40: 3.6
- FG%: 56.1
- FT%: 75.7
- 3P%: 52.0
Bol Bol’s surface-level game is the archetype for centers in the modern NBA. Thanks to remarkable length and verticality, he developed into a feared rim protector throughout high school and in his brief college career. That same length allows Bol to contest or deter jump shots by closing gaps with his length.
On offense, Bol shot impressively for a player of any size in his nine games at Oregon. He converted 57 percent of his two-pointers, 52 percent of his three-pointers and 75.7 percent of his free throws. Bol spaces the floor well with this diverse shooting, plus his towering release makes most defensive contests futile. Although he doesn’t frequently roll to the hoop in pick-and-roll sets, the lanky big man has good hands to receive inaccurate passes and can finish in traffic. Unlike most players of his size, Bol handles the ball well and can create shots for himself.
While Bol’s height and length benefit several aspects of his game, his thin frame does the opposite. He is an in-area rebounder and doesn’t box out well—often relying on his reach to secure 50-50 rebounds that should’ve been collected easily. Bol also doesn’t set strong screens. He routinely slips past his duties and focuses too much on popping to the three-point line before completing the screen. His size does betray him when defending on the perimeter. Perched in a vertical defensive position, Bol is easily exposed by explosive guards.
Outside of Bol’s unique build, his nine-game stint at Oregon showed two troubling signs: bad decision making and an unwillingness to pass. He often forced off-balance midrange jumpers out of the post or committed to unfavorable attempts when the defense collapsed around him on drives. If he can improve his passing, his decision making will improve accordingly as well.
Bol only played nine games for Oregon before suffering a navicular fracture in his left foot. Due to his extended stint on the sideline, he faced weaker competition than he would have in conference play or the NCAA Tournament.
Against Syracuse at the 2K Empire Classic—Oregon’s only AP Top 25 win of the season—Bol recorded one of his better stat lines of the season. He posted 26 points, nine rebounds, three steals, four blocks and one three-pointer on 11/17 shooting.
Bol possesses the tools to develop a memorable legacy in the NBA that goes beyond being the son of Manute. His unique build lends itself to superior rim protection and the ability to contest shots from all types of players at all spots on the floor. Offensively, he is already a gifted shooter from any range and has impressive ball handling skills—especially for a seven-footer.
However, his injury risk and reported troubles with motivation in his past accompany a remarkably high ceiling with a frighteningly low floor. There’s a reason why he’s anywhere from the early lottery to the late first round in mock drafts.
The Blazers’ organization has encountered its fair share of leg injuries that plagued potentially great careers—there’s no need recap those haunting memories. For optimists, Bol represents a light in that dark history, a chance to select a transcendent talent in the late first round and immediately build upon a squad that just made the Western Conference Finals. The pessimists, on the other hand, are already preparing an injury report for Bol.
Jusuf Nurkic will miss much of next season and the frontcourt rotation could be thin without him. Portland already possesses a work-in-process big man in Zach Collins (21 years old), along with two more healthy years of Nurkic (24 years old) once he recovers. In my opinion, these two young centers, along with holes in other areas of the team’s roster, hint that Bol isn’t worth the risk at No 25. There’s a slim chance he’s available that late anyway.
Do you want to see Bol in a Blazers jersey next season? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.