With the preseason right around the corner, it is finally time to talk actual basketball once again!
For all the moves the Golden State Warriors made this offeason, the addition of Jordan Bell is probably the most overlooked. While not as well-known as established veterans like Nick Young and Omri Casspi, Bell is a natural fit with the Warriors system and team needs. But for a mid-second round pick, it’s always hard to know exactly what we are getting. Will he be another Draymond Green? Or Ognjen Kuzmic?
At least one preseason projection has Bell ranked in the top five:
Updated my rookie projections as well as the year 4 projections for this year's class. Top 25 in Rookie Wins and Year 4 proj Wins: pic.twitter.com/4HBVrH3Sqq— TalkingBoutPraxis☭ (@NBAcouchside) September 21, 2017
Now, as with any model that isn’t totally transparent—we should be a little bit cautious putting too much stock in the outputs. Still though, this is a strong showing from a draft that the Warriors entered without any picks.
I asked the author over on Twitter to elaborate a bit and got this succinct reply:
He's probably going to be pretty good or at least his statistical profile suggests he could be— TalkingBoutPraxis☭ (@NBAcouchside) September 21, 2017
It is always a delicate balance between hopefulness and homerism, but there are a lot of indicators pointing towards Bell being a special player. Bram highlighted a story about his first attempt to cover LeBron James in a pick-up game and you can already see that he and Draymond are cut from the same cloth:
“I thought I did a pretty good job on him, but he obviously hit some shots. But he would get on the block, and I’m containing him, not letting him back me down, and he would fade away from the block to the 3-point line -- and make it. And I just played the best defense of my life. It didn’t matter.”
“Draymond was on my team, and he was just like, ‘Look, you can’t do nothing about that. Just worry about the next play.’ But he also said if LeBron is taking those types of shots, that’s what we want because we’re going to make more 3s than he makes 2s.”
Much like Green, Bell’s stout interior defense is only a part of his on-court value. A versatile player who can defend multiple positions on the floor, Bell is able block shots on the inside and extend out to the perimeter as well. Now, as TalkingAboutPraxis said to me via Twitter, Bell may not be a guaranteed great just yet, but his profile suggests he could be.
Bell, a Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, is the all-time leading shot-blocker for Oregon. He averaged double-digit rebounds in all three college seasons, and more than two blocks per game last season.
With the Warriors for the next few years, that “could be good” may as well be a “should.” With a locker next to Draymond Green, and playing in the Warriors system (either in Oakland or with the development team in Santa Cruz) he’s about as well set for success as you could want.
He’s going to be easy to root for - if you aren’t familiar with his background, here’s a great story on him. Oh and also, instead of some fancy sports car, check out how Bell chose to use his NBA money.
That feeling when you move your mom out the hood into a house can't be topped— Jordan Bell (@1jordanbell) September 2, 2017
Training camp opens next week - and so does Bell’s chance to shine.