The Phoenix Suns have an interesting conundrum on their hands. This past offseason they parted ways with Cameron Payne, garnering a couple of second-round draft picks from the San Antonio Spurs, and opening a roster spot. Second rounders. Cool. A roster spot? Intriguing.
Who filled it? Why, none other than 7’3” former Oregon Duck, Bol Bol.
There is a fascination with Bol. His body is long and slim, like his father before him. Unlike his father, the to-time block champion Manute, he has the ability to handle the basketball with the skillset of a guard. You spend time watching the highlight videos and begin to get sucked into buzzwords like “untapped potential” and “unicorn”.
When fingers are snapped, you believe that he should be a regular part of the rotation. You’re appalled that, through 22 games, he played a total of just 8 minutes. How could Frank Vogel be so narrow sighted? How could he not see what versatility Bol brings to the Suns’ rotation?
Well, last Tuesday against the Golden State Warriors, Frank Vogel gave Bol his chance. As this wasn’t garbage time minutes he played in. No, Bol checked into the game with 28 seconds left in the first quarter, and the Suns up 24-22.
By the time he left, just 4:35 later, Phoenix trailed 40-27. And Bol was a big part of that deficit.
I know the fan base is mesmerized by Bol Bol. I still will continue to wonder why. Tuesday night fortified my previous observations and (hopefully) those who are hypnotized by the thought of what he could be are wiser for seeing what he actually is. And that is a player with a low basketball IQ.
Play after play, Bol was lost. LOST!
Losing players in transition leading to wide open three-pointers. Losing baseline cutters leading to alley-oop dunks. Biting on every pump fake. The Warriors warmed the oven, greased the sheet pan with Pam, gently placed Bol upon it, and cooked him for 5 minutes.
JONATHAN KUMINGA THROWS IT DOWN OVER BOL BOL— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) December 13, 2023
Bol exited the game 0-of-1 from the field — a missed three-pointer — with two rebounds, one foul, and a -16 +/-. It was a rough watch.
Bol Bol jumping on people’s pump fakes is hilarious. bro you’re 17 feet tall— sreekar (@sreekyshooter) December 13, 2023
Frank Vogel disagreed, however, stating that, “Bol Bol was good”. I know Frank is doing what he can to instill confidence in his players, but my faith is shaken a bit there if Vogel belives that to be true. Bol Bol’s performance on Tuesday was the opposite of good, and I’ll let you insert your own superlatives below.
"Bol Bol was good. That stretch, we got a 15-2 run or whatever that was, I think 2 of those points were Bol's."— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) December 13, 2023
Frank Vogel as Bol Bol -16 in 5 minutes of play.
"Him not going back in 2nd half wasn't because of him. Just because of how the group played in the 1st half." #Suns pic.twitter.com/5AbF51cgFG
Perhaps this was a test. One final test for Vogel to see if Bol does have what it takes. To see if he can be a viable option off the bench. To see if he is able to contribute to the team in any fashion. To see if he could string together 5 good minutes that the Suns could put on film and pass around the NBA in dark alleys where no one talks about it. Because they’d be ashamed if they did.
It’s December 15, folks. Bol Bol is officially a tradeable asset for the Suns. But who would want him? The Clippers are reportedly thinking of moving on from an unhappy P.J. Tucker. I’d take three P.J.’s before I take one Bol. While the math doesn’t add up — P.J. makes $10.4 million and Bol is a veteran minimum guy — maybe James Jones can waive Bol and pray for a Tucker buyout?
Whatever the long-term solution is for Bol, the short-term is he is not able to be an effective player on this Suns team. Just like he wasn’t in Orlando. Or Denver.