The NBA Draft was an exciting chapter for many new recruits. Their lives were about to change completely. Not only were they going to play the game that they love, but they also were finally going to get paid some serious money to do it.
For players like Bol Bol, it meant something even bigger — fulfilling his father’s legacy. Bol’s father, Manute Bol, had played in the NBA during the 80’s and 90’s and at 7’7″ is still the tallest player to ever play in the history of the league. Unfortunately due to health issues, Manute passed away almost ten years ago, but his son is following close in his father’s footsteps.
Bol Bol is not quite as tall as his father, being 7’2″, but has the possibility to grow a little more in the upcoming years. His basketball skill can certainly compensate though, because he is a total slasher on the court. Last year at the University of Oregon, Bol had an incredible season.
When watching him play, one can only see the similarities of other NBA greats in Bol — which is why he was ranked #15 in ESPN’s top 100 college players. He has a 7’7″ wingspan, so he can put up unguardable hook shots like Kareem Abdul-Jabaar did while he was on the Bucks and Lakers. One also could notice that his slashing ability (the ability to drive to the basket and either dunk or finish at the rim) is awfully similar to the Brooklyn Nets’ Small Forward Kevin Durant.
Tim Connelly, Nuggets President of Basketball Operations, not only praised Bol’s work inside the paint, but also from the three point line as well:
“He can shoot, he can handle. He was one of the top players in his high school class… I think with his length and ability to protect the rim and stretch the floor, it’s a pretty rare combination.”
So with Bol’s ability to shoot and slash, he’s like a new and improved KD — and is three inches taller too!
Despite being ranked pretty high going into the draft, Bol was selected as the 44th pick by the Denver Nuggets. Afterwards, he was asked by reporters if he was disappointed that he was drafted so late and he responded saying that he was just happy to be picked up by and NBA team — that it was his life goal to play in the league and follow his father’s footsteps.
Bol has still been recovering from some injuries and hasn’t played in the NBA preseason and did not play tonight in their season opener against the Portland Trailblazers. He is expected to come back soon though.
If I was an NBA executive, I would be seriously worried about the Nuggets. Not for this season, but for the seasons to come. As a franchise, their investments have all been focused on being good in the long-term. Similarly to Bol, Michael Porter Jr. was originally ranked high on ESPN’s top 100 at #1 but was drafted late because of his injuries a couple of years ago. Since then, the Nuggets have given time for him to recover and he is now playing at an elite level. This is going to be an exciting team to watch in the upcoming years.
Perhaps the most attractive player quality found in Bol is his humility. He could have used his dad’s career to act entitled, but rather he has shown that he wants to work for his place himself. I chose him as the sleeper of this draft class because of two things: Because he will be an amazing player and in turn an even better teammate.
Cover Photo Credit:
Denver Nuggets photo by Michael Tipton on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rmtip21/3770301340