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Pro Ducks: Jordan Bell makes first NBA start against Chicago Bulls, the team that traded him

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Steve Kerr wanted to give his rookie a rare opportunity

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State’s Jordan Bell made his first NBA start against the Chicago Bulls on Friday night from Oracle Arena. The same team that inexplicably traded Bell on draft night to the Warriors. The former Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year did not disappoint.

Head coach Steve Kerr obviously has significant ties to Chicago’s organization. Therefore, he knew his rookie had a rare opportunity against the team that selected him 38th overall in the 2017 NBA Draft. For that reason, he gave his star forward Draymond Green the night off.

Bell made his first career start and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The former Duck icon tallied a ridiculous six blocked shots, as he channeled back to the Kansas game at the Elite Eight. He added seven points, six boards, four assists and two steals. He only missed one shot.

Photo courtesy of ESPN.com

Talk about starting the game with a bang, Bell threw down a quick dunk before the Bulls ripped off their warmups. He was 2-of-2 from the floor in the first four minutes of the game. To say he was ready to go is a mass understatement. It was the same energy he carried with him throughout March.

The former Pac-12 All-Defensive 1st Team member placed an exclamation point on his first start with a plus-minus rating of +20 in the contest. Not to mention, the champs walked away with a convincing 143-94 win. The Bulls were defeated in more ways than one on Friday.

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Golden State Warriors
Jordan Bell celebrates a superb first half against the Chicago Bulls on Friday night from Oracle Arena. The former draft pick of the Windy City team registered seven points, six rebounds, six blocked shots, four assists and two steals in a 143-94 win for his Warriors.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

From time to time, Kerr will give his stars extra rest. Green and Kevin Durant were both inactive against the Bulls, but it could be Steph Curry and Klay Thompson next week. When players miss time, especially Green, Bell will have more opportunities to thrive.

“Because of how hard he (Green) plays and because the nature of his game, we just need to give him a rest once in a while,” Kerr told the Associated Press after the game. “I planned this one a week ago.”

Bell will be the constant beneficiary when the big boys don’t play, namely Green and Durant. Friday simply marked the beginning of a very long journey for this future NBA All-Star.

Next up for Golden State (14-5) are the Pelicans (11-8) on Saturday night. New Orleans carries a three-game winning streak into the contest at Oracle Arena. Tip is slated for 5:30 p.m. PT from the Bay Area.

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