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Jordan Bell’s jumper is a tool that’s ready to be used

It’s just another wrinkle in the quickly developing game of an exciting young player.

2018 NBA Summer League - Las Vegas - Los Angeles Clippers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

As a rookie, Golden State Warriors big man Jordan Bell wasn’t exactly known for his versatile, nuanced offensive game, and that’s not a bad thing. He provided the Warriors with exactly what they hoped for: intensity, rebounding, moments of defensive brilliance, and the ability to finish around the rim.

But what if I told you that he was successful as a jump-shooter as well? That from 10-16 feet, Bell shot 56.5%?

Yet numbers can be misleading, and such is the case with Bell’s percentages. He only shot such jumpers 23 times all year, meaning his selection was limited to times when he was really, really open. It was a shot he made, but it certainly wasn’t a weapon by any stretch of the imagination.

That might be changing now. So far in Summer League Bell has displayed not only an enthusiasm, but a knack for playing on the perimeter. A few days ago I chronicled his impressive ability to handle the ball in transition. Today, I want to talk about that jumper.

Bell has spent much of Summer League working outside in - catching the ball on the perimeter, and working towards the hoop. And while doing so he’s shown a crisp and smooth jumper, that he’s comfortable taking off the dribble.

It’s unlikely that we see Bell consistently taking shots from beyond the arc anytime in the near future, but it’s very plausible that he steps in a few feet and starts making them with regularity.

Watching him this summer, it’s clear that Bell is working hard on that shot. Assistant coach Willie Green confirmed as much when I asked him, saying, “[He’s working on] being able to hit that 15-foot jumper.”

Expanding his scoring ability to that part of the court not only makes Bell more of a weapon; it also dramatically opens up the floor for the Warriors, which is one of the reasons they were so excited to add DeMarcus Cousins to the mix. Spacing the floor from the center position only serves to add even more room for Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson to work with.

At Saturday’s practice, assistant coach Jarron Collins discussed how a Bell jumper would influence the team’s offensive structure.

“Working on his perimeter shot, shooting that 15-17 footer, even stretching it out to the three-point line, will help his overall development and his game going forward, to give us more space on the offensive end,” Collins said. Then he pivoted to remind me that, while this development would be nice, it’s not the most important part of his game: “But what we need from him, obviously, is just making smart plays, finishing around the rim, facilitating in the pocket off of pick and rolls, and then just being a beast defensively, calling coverages, blocking shots, getting rebounds.”

The luxury of playing on the Warriors is that Bell can take his sweet time developing this next element of his offensive game. As long as he’s providing the skills that Collins described, he’ll be an asset for the team.

But the jumper is coming, and it looks to be coming sooner rather than later. And it will make an already lethal Warriors offense that much better.