Ex. Denver Nuggets draft pick labeled one of NBA’s most confusing players

Bol Bol and Michael Porter Jr. of the Denver Nuggets. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Bol Bol and Michael Porter Jr. of the Denver Nuggets. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

It’s been about 18 months since the Denver Nuggets traded former second-round pick Bol Bol away to the Boston Celtics, who subsequently sent him to the Orlando Magic. He saw more opportunity in Orlando than he did in Denver, but still didn’t garner more than a minimum contract in free agency this summer.

At 7-feet 2-inches tall, Bol’s skills should make him a force in the league, yet he’s on his third team at just 23 years old.

All of those things combined make for Bol’s inclusion on Bleacher Report’s list of the most confusing NBA players, written by Zach Buckley.

Buckley justified his choice to pick the second-generation pro, by presenting his lack of on-court production despite the oodles of potential he has.

“He is, in theory, someone who can protect the basket and clean the glass on defense, then grab-and-go with the rebound and push the ball down floor,” Buckley wrote of Bol. “On offense, he can finish by the basket, beat defenders off the bounce and is confident (though not always capable) of shooting from the perimeter.”

Why didn’t Bol Bol stick with the Denver Nuggets?

Well, it’s really tough for any big man to find a real spot in Denver’s rotation with Nikola Jokic manning the middle. Jokic just lead the team to its first-ever NBA championship and took home the Finals MVP award.

The lack of room down low, combined with some rough injury history, saw Bol watching most of his games with the Nuggets from the bench. In three seasons with Denver, he appeared in just 53 games. Those appearances mostly came in garbage time, where Bol averaged 2.7 points, 1.2 rebounds, and 0.3 blocks per game. He was relatively efficient, shooting 47.8% from the field and 37.8% from distance, but it wasn’t enough to crack the rotation.

After he left Denver, Bol was able to earn consistent minutes with the Magic. He appeared in 70 games in just one season with Orlando — more than his three with the Nuggs — and even made 33 starts.

The Oregon alumni’s scoring average jumped up to 9.1 points, while he shot 54.6% overall and 26.5% from beyond the arc.

It’ll be interesting to see what Bol is able to do as part of a top-heavy Phoenix Suns team next season. His career could very well be on the line, with other franchises perhaps being ready to give up on the project of developing his talent.

Think the Nuggets gave up on Bol too soon? Check out Nugg Love’s recent deep dive into players that the franchise gave up on too soon.

Next. 14 Players that the Denver Nuggets Gave Up on Too Soon. dark