In the NBA Finals, who could Cleveland use? Well, surprisingly, someone in the mold of Jordan Bell would go a long way in helping Golden State not shred them inside and out.
Bell offers versatility in a way no other prospect, at least outside the lottery on my personal board, can give a franchise.
On the defensive end, the former Duck offers flexibility to switch on positions 3-5, maybe even some slower-footed guards with the eye-popping court speed for a big that Bell showed off at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago.
“My ability to guard perimeter players, switch on screens, keep people in front of me,” Bell said of his defensive versatility. “Definitely something that will help me out in the long run keeping me in the league for a long time. Just making my volume go up more."
As I mentioned previously, Bell gets compared a lot to Draymond Green, but they are legitimate outside of playmaking as a passer. Ironically, when asked who he models his game after, Green was Bell’s answer.
Bell seems like someone who’s ready to embrace a role like this, and he’s been working on his playmaking, too.
“I try to play like Draymond, a guy who does everything on the court. Scrappy, tough, real bully on the floor. Offensively, just making the right plays, looking for the open shot. He understands his role. He has players around, him so he tries to get them more shots. Get them open on screens, rebounds, get them extra shots."
I’m much higher on Bell than most, but if he’s able to add some more polish on facets of his offensive game then he will become a starter soon. His potential, even as a declaring junior, is intruiging to say the least.
Assistant general manager Pat Connelly, was asked further about Bell’s outstanding performance at the combine and spoke about his shot blocking prowess.
Bell did it throughout the year as well, but he caught more and more eyes as the Ducks’ season progressed all the way to the Final Four in Phoenix. His stock continues to rise the closer we get to the draft.
“No, it's mostly just different types of body types, he just kept blocking shots, which obviously kind of draws the eye a little bit,” Connelly said. “When we got around a good group of players in Chicago — and with his ability to block shots and compete and man the inside — he stood out.”
The bread and butter of Bell’s game is exactly that. General managers could feel comfortable throwing him out against even thicker, back to the basket-type 5’s. Having a prospect with the traits he’s shown on the defensive end, that’s an area that will continue to only get better as he transitions to the pros.
Throughout their Final Four run, especially after Chris Boucher went down with a torn ACL, Bell moved full-time to the 5 and was spectacular. Even with an average wingspan, Bell showed quick-twitch athleticsm that will entice many, if not all of the NBA’s front offices.
Connelly expanded on that revolving around his motor and top of the line BBIQ he posseses as a shot blocker.
“Look at (Bell), he's not 6'11" but it doesn't matter he gets out there, he gets up, he battles, he's physical. And again, he has that timing, that knack referring to blocks. You can't just be athletic and rebound, you also have to have kind of a commitment to get the ball and time and read where the ball is going."
In terms of a fit with the Suns, Bell is perfect. He’s not only a great defensive prospect, but a fluid transition runner who can get out in front. Wanting to get up and down on both ends, Bell fits the profile for a possible selection at No. 32. Personally, I don’t see him making it that far, but if he does Ryan McDonough should turn in the card with record time.
Where the league is heading, Bell is a prototype center for the future. The versatility is off the charts, alongside his great leadership qualities he displayed while in Eugene, Bell will be able to thrive more in a pro setting.
“Definitely, I think the way the game's going -- everybody's picking and popping, switching screens all the time 1-5,” Bell said. “At times, LeBron was playing the 5, so I think me coming in right now it's definitely the perfect time for me to come into the league.”