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ESPN lists Jordan Bell among most underrated rookies for the long-term

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Before starting for the Warriors in their preseason finale, ESPN had Jordan Bell among their most underrated players. But how much longer can his talent go unnoticed?

2017 Las Vegas Summer League - Golden State Warriors v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

As founder and president of the Patrick McCaw Hall of Fame Awareness Association, it can sometimes be difficult to deviate from the company line that sometimes requires a singular focus on the second-year wingman.

Yet Golden State Warriors rookie Jordan Bell is proving himself worthy of at least equal adulation, if not more; it's gotten to the point where the PMHoFAA might have to consider expanding its mission a bit.

Bell got his first start for the Warriors last night in their preseason finale against the Sacramento Kings. And he didn't fail to impress. Yet while we here at Golden State of Mind have been on the Jordan Bell Hype Train since, oh, about draft night, it's probably time for the rest of the world to awaken to his greatness.

And don't just take it from me (or Apricot, whose "Explain One Play" series may be changed to "Explain Bell's Play" if he keeps up this pace) — Mike Schmitz of ESPN seems to agree, listing Bell among his four most underrated NBA rookies for the future since he “...might not have a huge immediate impact due to the Warriors' talent level across the board...” this season.

Bell is a perfect fit on a loaded team such as Golden State because he doesn't need to score to have an impact and is more than capable of playing a small-ball 4/5 role as a rim protector (3.1 blocks per 40 minutes), switch defender, offensive rebounder and facilitator. He isn't overly long or thick at 6-foot-8 1⁄2, 224 pounds with an 8-foot-8 1⁄2 standing reach, but he has tremendous feet with quick-twitch athleticism and explosiveness off the floor in space.

Although he doesn't stretch the floor as a shooter, Bell is very comfortable playing out of short rolls both as a passer and straight-line driver, which he showed regularly on a competitive Oregon team. Bell's big personality should fit right in with a loose Warriors bunch, and it isn't all that far-fetched that he earns spot minutes this season.

Tell us something we at GSoM don't know, right?

Yet after his double-double performance against the Sacramento Kings on Friday night, people are justifiably talking about Bell’s immediate impact on the team, as described at length by Mark Medina of the San Jose Mercury News.

To put it another way, former Warriors center Festus Ezeli played 78 games in his rookie season and started 41 under Mark Jackson in 2012 after four years at Vanderbilt. As some of us discussed in our Slack GSoM group the other day, how many people would take rookie Festus Ezeli over rookie Jordan Bell? How many would even take peak Ezeli — think the first part of his 2015-16 season, unfortunately his last with the Warriors — over Bell? Bell’s ability as a passer, instincts off the ball, and his tendency to just be in the right place at the right time without plays being called for him arguably make him more valuable than Ezeli ever was right now.

Needless to say, the future looks extremely bright for Bell.

As we've discussed many times before, even if Bell isn't somehow a first-ballot Hall of Famer with two or three MVP awards to his credit, the reason for excitement here -- regardless of how rational — is that the Warriors have seemingly managed to steal what appears to be a serviceable talent in the second round for the second year in a row. For a team that needs to keep an eye on managing the salary cap in order to keep their star-studded roster together long-term, finding gems like Bell and McCaw is vital for this team's future.

Poll

This season, Jordan Bell will be...

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    glued to the bench
    (30 votes)
  • 8%
    sighted every month in garbage time
    (240 votes)
  • 43%
    seen most games, as frequently as McCaw last year
    (1213 votes)
  • 23%
    a role player as important as JaVale McGee
    (646 votes)
  • 10%
    eventually starting over Zaza
    (308 votes)
  • 4%
    challenging for an All-Star spot and Rookie of the Year
    (123 votes)
  • 8%
    traveling the solar system as a giant Galaxy Brain bringing enlightenment to the outer moons of Saturn
    (248 votes)
2808 votes total Vote Now