When the Golden State Warriors drafted Jordan Bell in the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft, it was clear what they were getting - a muscular and energetic big who could impart much-needed youth and athleticism to the team’s frontcourt. He would defend the rim, be able to switch on the pick and roll, gobble up rebounds, and finish inside.
And that’s what they got. But now it looks like they’re getting a heck of a lot more.
After a strong rookie campaign, it was a little surprising that Bell was added to the team’s Summer League roster. But after a few games, it’s clear why he’s here. His game is expanding, and he’s turned the Summer League gyms into his personal playgrounds, to practice and perfect the next levels of his professional game.
During Friday’s victory against the Los Angeles Clippers, Bell looked like he’d been infected with a severe case of Draymonditis. Numerous times he snatched a rebound, and rather than searching for an outlet, turned and raged up the court like a perturbed bull.
An in-control bull, that is. An in-control bull who showed a remarkable ability to locate - and accurately pass to - his teammates as he exploded across the hardwood.
For fans, it was one of the first glimpses at Bell’s ability to lead the team in transition. But for the team, it’s a part of his development that they’ve been well aware of.
After Saturday’s practice, assistant coach (and former NBA center) Jarron Collins talked about Bell’s development in the transition game, and the impact it has on the Warriors offense.
Caught up with assistant coach Jarron Collins after practice to hear his thoughts on what Jordan Bell’s versatile play can bring to the Warriors this year: pic.twitter.com/OKTcDbHx4S— Golden State of Mind (@unstoppablebaby) July 7, 2018
Speaking about Bell’s development, Collins pointed to “His ability to get a defensive rebound, push the break himself, similar to Draymond, and be under control and make the correct play . . . That type of skill, that type of development, that type of comfort level that he has handling the basketball and leading our team in transition, he’s fully capable of doing. It’s just really, really difficult to stop in defensive transition.”
Watching Bell push the tempo in Summer League, it’s impossible not to get caught up daydreaming about when the lanes are being filled, not by Josh Magette and Gian Clavell, but by Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson.
The team knows just how valuable it is to have another transition playmaker, to allow those three shooters to stay off the ball. It’s something Draymond Green has repeatedly shown, and it’s proving to be a huge asset that the Warriors want Bell to put on Display.
As assistant coach (and Summer League head coach) Willie Green put it, “It’s something that we encourage him to do . . . he’s a good playmaker from that standpoint.”
At yesterday’s practice, coach Willie Green talked about Jordan Bell expanding his game: pic.twitter.com/pJgvq09AaX— Golden State of Mind (@unstoppablebaby) July 8, 2018
Bell was already a good player, when doing the tasks more normally associated with a big man. But in only his second year, he’s adding a vital wrinkle that could unleash yet another option in the Warriors offense, and open up the game even further for their All-Star scorers.
Or, here to put it more simply is Magette, who succinctly told the whole story when I asked him about sharing the court with Bell: “He’s a luxury to play with.”