Jordan Bell has played solid, at times astounding basketball through the first 29 games of his rookie campaign. A second round, third year player out of Oregon, he was not pegged to be the next defensive force in the NBA. He was not pegged to be a first round player. Yes, he was the reigning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, and yes, I will show you those highlights:
But, it’s important to remember that not only did the Chicago Bulls give him up for cash considerations ($3.5M), but all 30 teams (except the Warriors, who did not have a first-round pick) had given him a look and basically said, “Naaaaah, we are good.” Chicago selected him with the 38th pick in the second round and flipped him for some quick moolah.
So, where would he go in a theoretical 2017 NBA re-drafting? First overall? Lol, no. But, definitely higher than 38th, that’s for sure. The fellas over at Sports Illustrated were wondering the same thing, except in regards to all of the talented rookies in this year’s class, and they decided to take it upon themselves to see where players might theoretically end up if the draft happened today, with everything we now know.
So, check it out. It’s super interesting, especially in regards to Jordan Bell. Here’s their new order (from SI’s fabulous writers Chris Johnson and Jeremy Woo):
[Obviously, h/t to Sports Illustrated and thanks for starting this conversation. Be sure to read their whole article for their insight into their re-drafted picks.]
1. 76ERS: JAYSON TATUM | ORIGINAL: MARKELLE FULTZ
2. LAKERS: DONOVAN MITCHELL | ORIGINAL: LONZO BALL
3. CELTICS: LONZO BALL | ORIGINAL: JAYSON TATUM
4. SUNS: MARKELLE FULTZ | ORIGINAL: JOSH JACKSON
5. KINGS: JONATHAN ISAAC | ORIGINAL: DE'AARON FOX
6. MAGIC: DENNIS SMITH JR. | ORIGINAL: JONATHAN ISAAC
7. BULLS: LAURI MARKKANEN | ORIGINAL: LAURI MARKKANEN
8. KNICKS: OG ANUNOBY | ORIGINAL: FRANK NTILIKINA
9. MAVERICKS: DE'AARON FOX | ORIGINAL: DENNIS SMITH JR.
10. TRAIL BLAZERS: KYLE KUZMA | ORIGINAL: ZACH COLLINS
11. HORNETS: JOSH JACKSON | ORIGINAL: MALIK MONK
12. PISTONS: JOHN COLLINS | ORIGINAL: LUKE KENNARD
13. JAZZ: MALIK MONK | ORIGINAL: DONOVAN MITCHELL
14. HEAT: JORDAN BELL | ORIGINAL: BAM ADEBAYO
So, a few thoughts.
1.) Obviously, it’s crazy that Jordan Bell has risen this high this fast. He legit looks like a borderline NBA All-Star, although I know I’m biased and I know I still think Patrick McCaw will be in the HOF, even as all the evidence builds against my case. But Bell has produced. Sure, he had some rookie plays on Christmas day, but he also put together a strong, solid game while starting for the defending champions against the not-defending-champions-but-almost on the biggest stage in the world. He didn’t back down against the pressure, and he looked like he belonged.
2.) Should he have been even higher in this re-draft?!
As my colleague Brady Klopfer said in our private GSOM slack after I mentioned I’d probably have put him higher:
“I think I would have him higher too, but it's hard to separate the prospect he was from the way GSW has developed him. Dude had 7 assists last night, and has looked brilliant playmaking lately. Since that really wasn't at all in his scouting report, I have no idea how much credit to give pre-draft Bell, and how much to give to Kerr, Draymond, etc.”
The glorious thing is: It doesn’t matter what he would’ve looked like on another team. He’s here, and it’s the best place possible for him. His length, athleticism, grit, and passion fit seamlessly into the fabric of this Warriors team. Again, the fellas at SI summed it up perfectly while explaining their selection of Jordan Bell with the 14th pick in their re-drafted fantasy world:
Chicago let the Warriors make out like bandits in a cash-for-Bell swap last June, but what looked like a lopsided trade then has increasingly come to feel like a straight-up fleecing for a franchise that already owned far-and-away the league’s most loaded roster. One of the reigning champions’ only apparent frailties coming out of last season was a thin big man rotation, and in Bell, they snagged a productive solution on the cheap without lifting a finger in free agency. Bell is an efficient interior scorer, capable rebounder and advanced shot-blocker with the playmaking juice to keep the offense whirring at full tilt, and his ability to take on a range of defensive assignments could make him the closest thing Golden State has to a Draymond 2.0 on that end of the floor as well as an invaluable part of the Dubs’ plan to neutralize the Rockets in a hypothetical playoff series.
Sure, most rookies would take well to a rotation spot on a dynastic juggernaut with four of the league’s 10-or-so best players wherein hustling, moving the ball and staying out of Steph and KD’s way are at the top of the to-do list, but Golden State has spent the last couple of seasons cycling through low-cost veteran bigs on the back nine of their careers. By contrast, Bell is a gifted 22-year-old far from his peak whose physical tools and skill set fit the Warriors’ pace-pushing style, and who they can keep around without much strain to a cap sheet that’ll only get more bloated in the coming years.
So what do you guys think? Where would you take Bell in a re-draft? Higher? Lower? First overall? Either way, the sky is the limit for the Warriors’ talented rookie big man.