Has Bol Bol’s Nuggets career turned a corner? “It takes a village”


Bol Bol’s reclamation began with an admission.

Entering his third season and having barely made a dent with the Nuggets, Bol didn’t wallow in the fact that he was buried on the depth chart. He didn’t bemoan the lack of chances head Michael Malone had granted him over the past two seasons. Instead, beginning with the team’s training camp in San Diego, the unicorn-like prospect who’d gotten stuck in those traps before acknowledged his shortcomings.

Having been praised for his attitude and work ethic to start camp, Bol conceded he hadn’t helped himself upon arriving in the NBA in 2019.

“I feel like this is something I could’ve been doing even though it’s my third year,” Bol said. “I’m glad that I’m figuring it out now, earlier than even later.”

Bol’s potential — on display throughout the early portion of preseason in games against the Clippers and Warriors — is still as tantalizing as it was when the Nuggets drafted the 7-foot-3 center. There’s the shot-blocking (not to mention the innumerable shots altered), the long-limbed rebounding and the ball skills.

Midway through the fourth quarter against the Clippers, Bol corralled a deflection, and rather than outlet to either of his two guards, galloped up the floor, planted at the 3-point line, dribbled behind his back, paused, then glided toward the hoop where he kissed the ball off the backboard for a bucket. Most 7-footers in the NBA couldn’t perform half of the spellbinding sequence. And yet that’s in Bol’s arsenal, waiting to be unleashed.

“The big thing for Bol is that, for most of his minutes, he really played hard and competed,” Malone said. “That’s a starting point for me.”

Bol finished with 11 points, five rebounds and five blocks in the Nuggets’ preseason opener. Having led the team far and away in blocks, Malone said he thought Bol could’ve swatted a few more. Two nights later in San Francisco, Bol tallied two more blocks.

According to Malone, the Nuggets were dead-last in the NBA last season in terms of contested shots. It leaves one to wonder whether Bol could make a meaningful impact on a team that a) doesn’t have a traditional backup center and b) had the worst rim protection in the league last season.

The only way to answer that question is to know whether Bol’s effort the past two weeks represents sustainable change or amounts to a blip on the radar. Asked how difficult it is to maintain that level of engagement when the minutes and the opportunities to play aren’t there, Bol said what the organization has wanted to hear for two seasons.

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Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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